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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Mainoo calls England teammate a ‘dream’ to play alongside

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Kobbie Mainoo has said it is a ‘dream’ to play alongside Declan Rice for England and has said the midfielder is ‘worth every penny’ of his record fee.

Mainoo has broken into the England set-up after an impressive emergence at Manchester United this season and was introduced as a second-half substitute during the 1-0 win over Serbia in the Three Lions’ Euro 2024 opener.

The 19-year-old is pushing for a place in the starting team ahead of Thursday’s clash with Denmark, where he could partner Declan Rice in midfield.

Rice is an integral figure for Gareth Southgate and arrives at the tournament after an excellent debut season at Arsenal that saw the 25-year-old named runner-up for the FWA Footballer of the Year award.

Arsenal spent a club-record £105m to sign Rice from West Ham last summer but Mainoo believes his England teammate is worth every penny of that fee.

“Dec is such a good player, reliable and dominate in the midfield so when I did get to play with him it’s always a joy to have someone so strong with the ball next to you,” Mainoo said at a pre-Denmark press conference.

“Everyone knows he’s worth every penny, he’s such a good player. He’s proved it in the Premier League and internationally.

“[Playing alongside Rice], it frees me up a lot and allows me to go forward and attack and trust that he’s there. It’s a dream.”

Read – Five of the best European Championship teams of all time

See more – Five problems Southgate needs to solve ahead of England vs Denmark

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