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Gary Neville and Roy Keane give instant verdict on Kobbie Mainoo performance for England

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Kobbie Mainoo played the second 45 minutes as England drew 0-0 with Slovenia.

It was a tough assignment for Kobbie Mainoo, but then again, he could not actually do worse than the way Conor Gallagher played in the first half.

Prior to to England’s final group game, Manchester United legend Paul Scholes had demanded Mainoo get a chance.

Mainoo spent the next 45 minutes trying to show why, standing out as England’s best player on the pitch in the second half.

Slovenia held firm and ground out a draw – while Mainoo produced a backheel in injury time which split their defence and was wasted by his England teammates.

Kobbie Mainoo of England looks on during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between England and Slovenia at Cologne Stadium on June 25, 2024 in C...

Photo by Eddie Keogh – The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Kobbie Mainoo impresses

Kobbie Mainoo completed 97 per cent of his passes during the draw and helped England dominate possession in the second half.

He put in a very good low cross late in the second half, which was crying out for a teammate to get on the end of.

Former United star Gary Neville told ITV he is adamant Mainoo did enough to retain his place in the team.

He said: “I am certain Mainoo will start in the next game. He thought Gallagher may be the option, obviously for the energy we talked about before the game, but I think it was quite obvious that we needed someone in there who would get us playing, and Mainoo does that. I think Wharton is capable of that as well.”

Roy Keane was in agreement, adding: “I think we would all be surprised if Mainoo doesn’t start the next game.”

  • READ MORE: Who is Kobbie Mainoo? Inside the life of Man Utd’s rising star, including his parents, brother and school

Under fire manager Gareth Southgate spoke out after the game, and attempted to explain why he selected Gallagher early on.

He also said that he did not suddenly expect Mainoo to totally transform the team, which is probably more of an indictment on all the players around him.

Southgate said: “Tonight we went with Conor (Gallagher) who presses well and we did that better. Then we felt Kobbie Mainoo’s control of the ball would help us. I don’t think we were going to go from where we were to winning three or four nil.”

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