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Ex-Manchester United defender agrees with Kobbie Mainoo’s “dream” admission



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Credit: YouTube / England

Former Manchester United defender Paul Parker has agreed with Kobbie Mainoo’s “dream” admission about England at the 2024 European Championships.

England topped Group C in the 2024 European Championships with five points, but their performances left much to be desired. Manchester United‘s young star, Kobbie Mainoo, played just 52 minutes across the three games against Serbia, Denmark, and Slovenia, while Luke Shaw missed out entirely due to injury.

England began with a 1-0 victory over Serbia but followed up with a lacklustre 1-1 draw against Denmark and ended the group stage with a dull 0-0 draw against Slovenia.

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Mainoo came on at halftime during the draw with Slovenia, and Gareth Southgate’s team immediately looked better with him on the field. Former United defender Paul Parker has called for Mainoo to start ahead of Conor Gallagher in their next fixture.

“Kobbie Mainoo is more of a technical midfield player than Conor Gallagher,” he told mybettingsites. “Gallagher runs around.

“But I think when you’re looking at when Gareth Southgate said that they miss Kalvin Phillips, it’s not Kalvin Phillips himself, it’s a player like Kalvin Phillips, who is a proper midfield player.”

“A player who gets the ball off the back four. He rotates the ball, he keeps the ball moving. He doesn’t just run around making tackles because as much as we’re talking about pressing, where England have been disappointing is their retention of the ball and then being able to control possession of the ball.”

Speaking further, Parker explained that Mainoo would help England retain possession of the ball on a more consistent basis.

“I think now Kobbie Mainoo alongside Declan Rice gives you a better balance in terms of just being able to get the ball from the back four, getting it into his feet, turning and giving the ball to the Foden’s.

“Rather than just being an energetic player who just runs around making tackles like Conor Gallagher. I think Mainoo is better on the ball, and he’s better at keeping the ball, which is where England is falling down.

“People are talking about the pressing. It’s not about the pressing; it’s about us retaining possession of the ball and being able to get the ball from the back, moving into dangerous forward areas with 1 or 2 touches, and Mainoo does that better than Gallagher.”

The notion that pairing Mainoo up with Rice allows for more freedom and balance is something that the 19-year-old himself agrees with. Speaking last week, Mainoo said that playing with Rice was a “dream”.

“[Playing with him] frees me up a lot and allows me to go forward and attack and trust that he’s there. It’s a dream,” he told the press.

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