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Gareth Southgate highlights one Kobbie Mainoo moment vs Slovenia, his opinion is clear



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Credit: ITV

Gareth Southgate highlighted one moment involving Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo after England’s 0-0 draw against Slovenia.

Mainoo, 19, entered the pitch at half-time for England on Tuesday evening after a dreadful first half from Gareth Southgate’s men.

There were improvements in the second half, with the United midfielder heavily involved in many of the good moves, but it was not enough to win the game against Slovenia.

Despite this, England topped the group, and Southgate was complimentary of both Mainoo and Cole Palmer, who both made positive impacts from the bench.

“They have [been impressing in training]; they’re obviously really young players, so we’re balancing blooding them in a difficult environment,” explained Southgate.

“But they had a really good impact when they came on, and they used the ball really well for us.”

The best moment of the game for England came in the final moments of the game. Mainoo received a pass and produced a wonderful flick to find Harry Kane. The England captain played the ball into the space that Palmer was running into, but his shot only found the goalkeeper’s arms.

It was a moment that Southgate was pleased with after the game despite not ending with the ball in the back of the net.

“Anthony Gordon, Kobbie, Cole, it was a really good move, and that’s what we have to build on. There were lots of things we can build on from tonight,” he said.

Many supporters were critical of Southgate’s decision to start Conor Gallagher in this game rather than Mainoo or Adam Wharton. It was clear that the manager wanted to improve the team’s pressing.

He admitted that the half-time change was made because the coaching staff wanted to improve their in-possession game.

Asked about the midfield change, the England boss added: “It depends on which way we want to go. We started with Conor, who presses well, and I felt we did that better at the start of the game.

“We then felt that Kobbie’s ability to move the ball through the pitch was going to be helpful, which he did.”

It remains clear that Southgate rates Mainoo highly, but he is still wary about England’s out-of-possession play, despite the 19-year-old being equally capable off the ball as his competition.

Should the England manager take the decision to try and prioritise the team’s play on the ball, he is likely to start Mainoo in the coming games.

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