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Three Man United players slammed for not protecting Kobbie Mainoo under Erik ten Hag



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Rio Ferdinand has slammed Manchester United players for not doing more to protect Kobbie Mainoo on a weekly basis.

At just 18 years of age, it has been a monumental rise for Mainoo this season. In his debut campaign, he has already started nineteen games for club and country, forcing his way into the England set-up ahead of Euro 2024.

Making his first Premier League start back in November, Mainoo has become one of the first names on Erik ten Hag’s team sheet.

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As a direct result of both Ten Hag’s tactics, as well as United’s ongoing injury crisis, Mainoo’s time in the squad has seen him denied having a constant midfield partner to help support him.

Since starting his first Premier League match in November, Mainoo has played several games with Scott McTominay, Casemiro, and Christian Eriksen as his midfield partners – although Bruno Fernandes is also in the midfield, he has shown leader qualities that have helped protect Mainoo.

Alongside the different roles, Mainoo is required to perform depending on who he has been paired with; in fifteen separate games, the talented Englishman has been asked to play eighty minutes or more.

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This has led to some questions that Mainoo is being overworked and that not enough is being done to protect him physically and mentally.

Speaking about Mainoo, Ferdinand, a six-time Premier League winner with United, voiced his concerns over the lack of support offered to Mainoo by the Red Devils’ coaches and players.

“You look at Kobbie Mainoo, who everyone is raving about and rightly so – he’s been magnificent since he’s come into the team,” Ferdinand stated on the latest episode of Stick to Football.

“But I don’t see anyone trying to protect him. He’s a kid – imagine if a young kid came into one of our teams, you try and protect that kid.

“There’s only the odd one, like Wayne Rooney, you don’t have to protect, but in the main you want to make sure there’s bodies around, don’t leave him exposed.”

“How many games do you see him being left exposed? Imagine that feeling, being exposed in that midfield, it’s a lonely place in there if there’s big spaces.

“There’s got to be older players and coaches in that team that make sure they tighten it up for that player, especially for the game at the weekend [against Liverpool].”