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Man United legend ‘can see why’ Erik ten Hag rates young star



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Credit: Man Utd

Erik ten Hag is keen to assess the youth talent at Manchester United across pre-season this summer.

The Reds began their journey ahead of the 2023/24 campaign last week against Leeds United with a 2-0 victory.

It was the youngsters who impressed in that encounter and Ten Hag made it clear that he wants to continue the tradition of providing opportunities for academy talent.

“This is their moment,” the boss told MUTV ahead of that fixture. “We have to improve the squad and you can do that with transfers but also players across the academy. Man United is famous about it – bringing young kids to above, to play in the first-team.

“Last year, Garnacho, he made it. I always hope for minimum of one player to come into our squad and make minutes and even compete for starting XI position.”

One player who seems like he could emerge at a first-team regular next term is 18-year-old midfielder Kobbie Mainoo.

The teenager stood out at the base of midfield last week and is unlikely to go out on loan, with it being said that Ten Hag “loves him to madness”.

Following that encounter, United legend Andy Cole had much praise for the youngster, as well as goalscorer Noam Emeran.

He said that he understands the hype around Mainoo and believes he would’ve got more chances last term if he hadn’t got injured in the backend of the campaign.

“There were quite a few of them, there weren’t many who didn’t,” replied Cole when asked by club media which youngsters impressed him during United’s win against Leeds.

“The boy who got the first goal, Emeran. His energy, the way he got the ball and ran at people. He was just positive, mentally. In the first half, the young central midfield player [Kobbie Mainoo] was very good.

“I was speaking to someone who said if he hadn’t been injured, he might have played a few games at the back end of last season. I was looking at him the other day and I was thinking to myself, ‘I can see why’. He looked a really good player.

“These kids are playing like they’ve been there a long time, and that’s what I enjoyed [in the Leeds game] as well. I could sit here and say that the future is bright, but you never really know where these kids are going to end up. But what they showed on Wednesday was a big, big positive.”

Mainoo made three appearances across the season, with his debut coming against Charlton Athletic in the Carabao Cup quarter-final.