Erik ten Hag is a big fan of Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, who has impressed during pre-season so far.
It is arguable that Mainoo was the standout player in the first half against both Leeds United and Lyon. Sitting at the base of midfield, he ran the show whilst on the pitch with a calming yet authoritative nature about him in possession of the ball.
Before the opening friendly game in Norway, Ten Hag explained how he wants to have at least one academy player per season progress into the first-team.
Last term Alejandro Garnacho blossomed under the Dutchman and it seems like Mainoo is the number one option for the opportunity this coming season.
However, he also set a challenge for the youngsters, with the opening two games of the pre-season providing the perfect chance for them to showcase their talents and force themselves into the conversation to head onto the US tour.
“This is their moment,” the boss told MUTV ahead of the Leeds fixture. “We have to improve the squad and you can do that with transfers but also players across the academy. Man United is famous about it – bringing young kids to above, to play in the first-team.”
This test was passed with flying colours from the 18-year-old midfielder, with the manager including him on the tour. And now, Ten Hag his keen for the teenager to continue showing similar performances in the upcoming games alongside the first-team squad, suggesting he will continue to get minutes in the United States.
“We have to see in pre-season,” said Ten Hag, when asked about where he sees the youngster fitting this term. ”He gets his chance because he deserves it. Because he showed it in the Under-21s and in our training.
“He showed a high level and now he has to show it in games. So pre-season is perfect to test him.
“He is an option to get into the game squad and to get playtime. We will see but I am confident he can do it and we have to wait we have test if it is going to happen.”
United play against Arsenal on Saturday evening, at 22:00 BST, and Mainoo will be eager to impress yet again if given the chance to do so.
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