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Erik ten Hag told to unleash Man United’s ‘surprise package’ on Premier League despite pre-season setback



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Manchester United are preparing for their second Premier League campaign under Erik ten Hag on Monday against Wolves.

The Reds will be looking to improve upon their third place finish from last term.

Ten Hag has added Mason Mount, André Onana and Rasmus Hojlund to United’s ranks in attempts to bolster their chances across all competitions.

However, it is another player that caught many fans’ eyes during pre-season.

Kobbie Mainoo excelled in the opening three fixtures alongside a host of first-team talent. The teenager looked certain to play a part for the team going into the season until his unfortunate injury against Real Madrid.

That ankle problem will keep the midfielder out of action for the beginning of the campaign, with a potential return lined up for October.

Despite his setback, Mainoo has been backed by former United striker Louis Saha to make his mark when he is at full fitness again.

“Kobbie was very unlucky to get injured but I’m sure he will come back stronger,” he told BetFred. “The Premier League is a different animal to pre-season fixtures, but I’m sure Kobbie is capable of making an impact during the season. All the players will improve because of the foundations that Erik ten Hag has laid out at the club.”

In particular, the 45-year-old believes the teenager’s well-roundedness suits first-team football and that he can provide solid depth in the engine room.

“I have been impressed with Kobbie. At any big club, you need the youngsters to push the players in the first-team and Mainoo is a player that physically and technically can push the midfield to perform,” he added.

Last season saw Mainoo’s FA Youth Cup winning teammate Alejandro Garnacho emerge into the first-team.

The Argentine’s direct and dazzling approach was an extremely useful weapon for Ten Hag, especially coming off the bench. He was an unknown entity to many full-backs and that gave him an edge in his duels when entering the fray.

Saha thinks that Mainoo’s entry into the team could provide similar benefits, naming the midfielder as a ‘surprise package’ for other teams to face up against.

“He can be a surprise package as many other clubs won’t know an awful lot about him, so he’s capable of providing Manchester United with something different and this is very exciting,” continued Saha.

“Erik ten Hag’s faith in young players is very beneficial for the club as a whole and you need players such as Kobbie and Alejandro Garnacho to provide excitement for the fanbase.”