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Gareth Southgate “can’t believe” one thing about Kobbie Mainoo following England start



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Gareth Southgate has heaped further praise on Kobbie Mainoo following his first start for England during a 2-2 draw with Belgium on Tuesday evening.

Kobbie Mainoo has taken the footballing world by storm in the last few weeks. His brilliant performance against Liverpool in the FA Cup was followed by his first England call-up, debut, and first start.

The 18-year-old Manchester United midfielder has become a firm part of Erik ten Hag‘s starting XI in the last five months and may well be on the plane to Germany for this summer’s European Championships.

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Mainoo started and played 74 minutes as England came to a 2-2 stalemate against Belgium thanks to a late equaliser from Jude Bellingham, and Southgate was full of praise for the young midfielder.

“He [Mainoo] gives us a different profile of midfield player to anything else we’ve got, and we’re really pleased with what he’s done,” Southgate told reporters on Tuesday evening.

“You can’t believe his age really. His attributes are there for everybody to see, that ability to receive under pressure and ride challenges, to manipulate the ball in tight areas.”

Goalscorer Bellingham also had his own say on Mainoo during his first start, explaining that he thinks Mainoo is a “brilliant player”.

He was good tonight, he was good,” Bellingham explained after the game. “It’s difficult – I’m speaking like the old head here – but I know how hard it can be when there’s a clamour and people put a lot of pressure on you.

“I don’t want to add fuel to the fire, but he’s definitely a brilliant player. He’s going to have an amazing future at Man United and, hopefully, for England as well.”