Bryan Robson has been particularly impressed with 18-year-old midfielder Kobbie Mainoo during Manchester United’s pre-season so far.
The United legend, who knows all about being a top class midfielder, has been up close and personal with his former club this summer as he works with the club media channel MUTV.
Mainoo has started all three fixtures so far and been a standout in each one. His latest performance against Arsenal – who operated with a strong midfield trio of Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Martin Odegaard – was perhaps his best display yet.
However, there are often young players who excel during pre-season who don’t actually make it into the first-team. This time last year Charlie Savage and Zidane Iqbal enjoyed successful tours but now they have both been sold by the club.
Yet, Robson believes Mainoo is different. The former United captain explained that the English talent showed different qualities than many other youngsters have done previously in pre-seasons.
“I was really impressed with him,” he stated whilst speaking on MUTV’s The Debate show. “I haven’t seen too much of him but I was really impressed with him against a team like Arsenal – he’s not a kid that comes into the team as a central midfield player and just goes chasing about, trying to impress the manager and all that.
“He’s calculated and he’s reading the game, doing things in his own time. He closes down really well, receives the ball and changes the pattern of the game, quickens it up when he wants to and he’s using his football brain and I’m quite impressed with him on first impressions.”
It has previously been reported that Ten Hag loves Mainoo to madness and that there is no chance of him leaving the club on loan in the coming months.
The plan is to keep him around the squad and hopefully have him contribute to the team in games too. A similar decision was made last January when there was no shortage of Football League interest in the then-17-year-old for a loan deal. Ten Hag decided to keep him around the squad instead and he looks extremely comfortable alongside his peers in pre-season now.
“See, that’s exactly what I mean,” replied Robson, when asked about the fact that many youngsters can impress on tour but if Mainoo can actually reach the first-team. “You get kids who come in and chase about on pre-season with no pressure on them and they work really hard and maybe do quite well in a game.
“But he didn’t do that. He just played, used his football intelligence and I can see him having a good career and that’s not trying to put pressure on the kid.”
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