Manchester United were victorious in their third pre-season friendly of the summer as Kobbie Mainoo stood out yet again in the 2-0 win against Arsenal.
The 18-year-old midfielder ran the show in the opening half of the game against Mikel Arteta’s star-studded trio of Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Martin Odegaard.
It was his incisive run down the right channel and eventual pass to Bruno Fernandes which led to the score being opened. He was also the one to play the ball in behind to Jadon Sancho for the second goal.
Fernandes, who played his first match as United’s club captain, was full of praise for his midfield partner following the victory.
“Honestly, Kobbie is a great player, he shows great resilience,” he told MUTV. “He’s always ready to work. He’s capabilities are high and everyone can see it. He’s good on the ball, strong, he can defend and attack.
“You see how he attacked the space for my goal. He’s still pretty young, but we see a bright future for him and hopefully he will get more minutes, more time, and he will be a great player for us.”
Erik ten Hag’s trust in the teenager was shown with his selection at the MetLife Stadium. The manager played him alongside the first-team regulars in the first half despite many international players returning for the fixture.
It has been reported that Ten Hag loves Mainoo to madness and he echoed his captain’s praise about the youngster.
“It’s fantastic that Manchester United is famous about always bringing young players up and he can be one,” said Ten Hag after the game.
“But we have to see. We have confidence and he’s playing with confidence and I really liked his performance. He showed it all in the Spring then he got injured.
“We are really happy and there are more youngsters, they are all doing very good but I don’t want to raise expectations too high, we have to see, the Premier League is tough but definitely we have some really good young players who can play a role in our squad but the bar is high.”
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