Kobbie Mainoo started for Manchester United in their opening pre-season friendly against Leeds United in Norway as The Reds came out as 2-0 victors.
In the capital, Oslo, Erik ten Hag’s side scored two second-half goals to secure a win in what was a successful outing for many young talents.
Noam Emeran, the French right-winger, scored and assisted the two goals in a dream appearance for the club he signed for in 2019. A calm finish under the goalkeeper was then added to with a smart low-ball into Joe Hugill, who also finished excellently.
However, it was Kobbie Mainoo who attracted the most eyes with his performance in the Ullevaal Stadion. The young player anchored the midfield in the first-half to excellent effect alongside new signing Mason Mount and fellow academy graduate Hannibal Mejbri in front of him.
Mainoo, 17, completed 27 passes in his 45 minute cameo and attempted three take-ons, of which he succeeded all three.
It was a promising display from a young player who will be hoping to emerge as a regular first-team player next term and there were two particular United players who were impressed with his performance.
FA Youth Cup winning teammate – and the emerging star of last season – Alejandro Garnacho reserved some special praise for his age-mate. “You are the [Goat emoji],” wrote the Argentine on Mainoo’s Instagram post, the emoji referencing the regular phrase ‘Greatest Of All Time’ usually saved for the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Meanwhile, Bruno Fernandes was also watching the game whilst enjoying extra time away after international fixtures. The Portuguese, who could be promoted to club captain next term, was equally impressed with the England midfielder’s showing.
“What a performance kid,” added Bruno, with a clapping hands emoji at the end of his message.
Both Garnacho and Fernandes will be returning to the squad on Saturday but Ten Hag confirmed that most of the international players will not appear for United in their next pre-season fixture against Lyon.
The following games will come in the United States as the club embark on their four-game pre-season four, before returning to the United Kingdom to play their last two games ahead of the Premier League campaign.
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