Erik ten Hag has suggested that Kobbie Mainoo could make his first Manchester United appearance of the season against FC Copenhagen in the Champions League.
Mainoo, 18, has now recovered from an ankle injury that he sustained against Real Madrid and took part in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Barnsley over the last international break.
It was said that the teenager was ‘sharp’ during that encounter, in which United were 3-0 victors, but he was not included in the matchday squad for the 2-1 win against Sheffield United on the weekend.
Speaking ahead of the Premier League win on Saturday, the manager said: “He is close. He is already training with us. Not today but I think, next week, he will have some minutes in the team.
“So then he can catch up on his game minutes. So he is really improving and ready to get back in the squad for games.”
Of course, United have two fixtures this week. But, with the weekend fixture coming against Manchester City, it seems like the United manager was referencing the game against the Danish outfit.
Whether or not Mainoo starts is another question, however, as the game is considered a must-win if United are going to progress from their Champions League group.
Losing their opening two games against Bayern Munich and Galatasaray means that The Reds sit bottom of their group and another loss, or even a draw, would make qualification almost impossible.
Mainoo was shown trust during pre-season, starting four games in a row alongside the perceived first-team, but there would be a different pressure starting in such an important fixture for his first appearance of the season.
On the other hand, United’s midfield options have been lacklustre in recent weeks and Casemiro is suspended for the tie after his red card last time out in the competition.
It will be an interesting decision for Ten Hag to make and many will be eagerly anticipating the 18-year-old’s return to the fold, whether that be from the start or off the bench.
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