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Erik ten Hag told to keep player’s position despite calls for Man United tactic change



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Erik ten Hag has been called to keep Kobbie Mainoo in his current position despite pleads from Manchester United fans to play him further forward.

Manchester United have a lot to thank Kobbie Mainoo for this season after his meteoric rise to stardom has helped Erik ten Hag‘s men settle into a better rhythm in 2024, despite the poor occasional loss.

Mainoo recently made his debut for England at just 18 years of age during a 1-0 loss against Brazil at Wembley Stadium and is now in contention to make their squad for the 2024 European Championships.

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Mainoo has mainly been playing a deeper role at United, where he has been tasked with recovering the ball and playing it forward. However, against Liverpool, Mainoo showed off some of his skills as a more attacking player.

Some United fans have called for Ten Hag to give Mainoo a more attacking role in future, but former Red Louis Saha believes that Mainoo has the tools to succeed as a deeper player.

“I have seen that he can adapt,” Saha told BetFred when asked whether he believes Mainoo is too good going forward to be deployed in a deep midfield role.

“He is that kind of player where he has the qualities to remain very calm and composed. When he has the opportunity to recover the ball, he does. He’s maybe not as big physically as someone like Marouane Fellaini, but as I’ve said, he can recover those balls and he can use it really effectively and that is so precious. 

“In the last few years of his career, Paul Scholes was able to drop deeper into the midfield and go forward less because he was smart enough to be in the right areas at the right time. Kobbie has that same positional awareness. He’s very aware of where his teammates are, and he doesn’t panic, so these are great qualities to have at his age. 

“To provide this kind of reassurance to the manager is great, and that’s why I think he’s playing regularly because he’s very composed, and he’s improving game to game. I think Kobbie playing in defensive midfield when Casemiro isn’t there is possible as he’s capable of adapting.”