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There is a Man United benefit to Mason Mount’s return that no one is talking about



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Kobbie Mainoo’s rise has been eagerly anticipated by Manchester United for some time now, but even his biggest advocates have been impressed by how seamlessly he has transitioned to men’s football.

Technically, Kobbie Mainoo is excellent, and physically, the transition to the men’s game—a huge step up from youth football—has been smooth. It is rare to see him getting bullied in his duels. But it is his mindset that makes him stand out so much. He took on massive responsibilities so early on in Manchester United‘s midfield under Erik ten Hag and did so with total calmness and composure.

With how good he has been, it is easy to forget that Mainoo only turns 19 in under a month. He still has his whole career ahead of him, and the club have a responsibility to protect him for that.

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Since returning from injury in late November, Mainoo has started 14 Premier League games for Erik ten Hag and three FA Cup games. He is playing a lot of football right now, and in part, that is due to the unavailability of Casemiro, Sofyan Amrabat, and Mason Mount at different points.

Mount was signed for £55m in the summer, but things have not quite gone to plan for the Englishman so far, with most of his United tenure plagued by injury. His cameo off the bench against Liverpool was his first appearance for the club since the 11th of November, where he played 50 minutes against Luton.

A long-term target of Ten Hag’s, even going back to his days as Ajax manager, Mount has an important role to play for the Dutchman and his return is a welcome one, but it could also be exactly the relief that Kobbie Mainoo needs.

The youngster has been fantastic for United but does need his minutes managed. With Mainoo now in the picture for the England national team, his minutes are only increasing, and the club must decrease the load upon him to preserve his health.

Mount and Mainoo are not like-for-like players, but three of Mount’s four league starts came in a midfield alongside Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes – who are mainstays for Erik ten Hag.

Casemiro is currently injured, but if the injury is not serious, then it is clear that the Dutchman envisions his third midfielder – whether that be Amrabat, Mctominay, Mainoo, or Mount – playing alongside those two.

United have a crucial run of games coming up, and the temptation could well be to keep Mainoo in every single one of them due to how well he has performed, but the club have to remember to protect him too. Mason Mount’s return allows for there to be genuine quality in Mainoo’s place.