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Kobbie Mainoo chose Man United over Man City for reason Ole Gunnar Solskjær would love



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Kobbie Mainoo has been at Manchester United since he was a young boy but trained at Manchester City as well before he turned eight.

Mainoo, 18, now is one of the most important players in United’s first-team squad. He has risen through the ranks and emerged as an option for Erik ten Hag this season.

He has started 12 Premier League fixtures since returning from injury in November and several teammates, including Casemiro, have sung his praises in recent weeks.

However, Mainoo’s story could have been very different had he made a different decision as a young player.

The midfielder had trained with both United and Manchester City as a youngster, and according to The Athletic, after a year at under-eight level, he would need to make a decision between the two.

Mainoo chose United because of the freedom offered by coaches, the report explained, with the loose structure at that age allowing boys to get on the ball and make mistakes.

This type of upbringing in footballing terms has clearly aided Mainoo’s natural ability on the ball.

Interestingly, the now-United star making that decision at a young age would be appreciated by former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær, who has recently explained his concern about academy players being rigidly fit into a system too young.

“Football is now more prescribed,” Ole explained. “Many more coaches tell players exactly what to do from academy age, which sometimes is a bit… dangerous, you know? Because I always believe when you are out there on the pitch, you as a creative player have to make a decision.

“Yeah, we have a framework to work from, and we all look for these things, but… the decision-making on the pitch is what would make the difference. If you have players who are not capable of seeing different things, you coach them and say this is what you do: you win the ball, you give it to (for example) Bruno, he will create…”

While United are now seemingly looking to replicate areas of Manchester City’s model, with Omar Berrada coming in as the new CEO, this should be something that is always considered at Carrington for the youngsters in an ever-changing game.