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‘I saw him against Declan Rice’: Bryan Robson convinced Man United wonderkid will have a ‘great career’

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One of the brightest talents in European football is heading in the right direction as he looks to follow in the footsteps of a litany of Manchester United legends.

And Bryan Robson, the iconic former Red Devils skipper, sees no reason why arguably Erik ten Hag’s stand-out performer so far in 2024 cannot kick on and end up securing himself a place in Old Trafford folklore.

The Carrington graduate, Robson feels, has not only the ability but also the attitude required to live up to his colossal potential in Manchester United colours. The footballing nous of a player a decade his senior but also the iron-clad mentality that holds back so many players of his age.

“It’s always great when you’re connected with a club and a young lad comes through from the academy and they impress,” Robson says of Kobbie Mainoo, arguably the most exciting Carrington graduate since Marcus Rashford, while speaking on the No Tippy Tappy Football podcast.

“I saw him in pre-season over in the US. He played against Arsenal against Declan Rice. He did really well but, unfortunately, he got injured and that kept him out for a while.”

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

Manchester United legend hails Kobbie Mainoo

The 18-year-old would likely have been thrown straight in by Erik ten Hag at the start of hte current campaign, but was instead forced to wait until November to make his belated Premier League bow. Mainoo has barely missed a game since then, a midfielder who picked up the Man of the Match award on his full England debut against Belgium on Tuesday racking up milestone after milestone.

“It’s his control and his mental control,” adds Robson, who captained Man United to their first ever Premier League title under Sir Alex Ferguson in 1993. “The lad looks as if hes grounded. He is really pleasant around the training camp.

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“If he keeps working, he’s got a great chance to have a great career with England and with Man United.”

Despite only making his first appearance for the senior England side against Brazil on Saturday night, the clamour for Mainoo to be included in Gareth Southgate’s starting XI when the European Championships kicks off is growing almost by the day. 

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

Euro 2024 is only three months away for England

Southgate could hardly have been more complimentary of a player who’s press-resistant qualities and line-breaking passes give England a completely different dimension in the centre of the park, and Robson believes that a starting spot is Mainoo’s to lose between now and June.

“There’s no one who has proven they are better than him,” argues the 67-year-old, who’s biggest competition is the ageing Jordan Henderson and the horrifically out-of-form Kalvin Phillips.

“But he has to keep doing it in big games. I’m sure he will. I’m sure there’s every chance he can make it (and earn a place in England’s first XI at Euro 2024).” 

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