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Sunday, April 14, 2024

‘The composure’: Declan Rice shares verdict on Manchester United’s Kobbie Mainoo after England training

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The hype around Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo shows no sign of slowing down – especially after making his England debut against Brazil over the weekend.

Even a year ago, United fans couldn’t have predicted that Mainoo would make such a rapid rise to stardom.

A regular in the United midfield and now in the mix for a Euro 2024 call-up, Mainoo is enjoying a stunning season.

Mainoo only came on for 15 minutes as England lost to Brazil at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, but there were the same encouraging signs that we have seen in a United shirt.

The composure, the poise, the ability to play in tight areas and play on the turn in front of the defence.

Mainoo plays like a much more experienced player and his cameo against Brazil was praised by England boss Gareth Southgate.

Mainoo is now in contention to start for England against Belgium and Declan Rice has given his verdict on the United teenager…

Arsenal star Rice has been speaking to the London Evening Standard ahead of captaining England against Belgium.

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Rice admitted that lots of his friends have been asking him exactly what Mainoo is like in training and Rice has been blown away.

Rice suggested that Mainoo is ‘really impressive’ in terms of his composure and his control of the ball, believing that Mainoo has the ‘full package’.

The former West Ham United star feels that Mainoo is ‘so level-headed’ and thinks his close family bond bodes well for his future.

Rice added that the ‘sky is the limit’ for Mainoo and hopes to feature alongside him for years to come on the international scene.

“In training, the composure he shows, the little touches he takes in tight areas is really impressive for an 18-year-old. I’ve been asked a lot by my friends, ‘What’s Mainoo like?’ and he’s really, really impressive,” said Rice. “I have come across so many 18-year-olds who are top players but don’t have that full package, just because of who they are as a person, but he is so level-headed.”

“I saw his family the other night after the game, and you can tell they are a really closely connected, loving family. That bodes well for a player to really go and push on. I really want him to enjoy his career. It’s important we don’t put too much pressure on him. He’s at one of the biggest clubs in the world and now he’s at England, and we just want to let him flourish. But the sky is the limit for him and I am looking forward to hopefully playing many games for England with him,” he added.

England Men Training Session & Press Conference

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

How Kobbie Mainoo rose to the top

Key moments in Kobbie Mainoo’s career so far…

  • 3/10/20: Kobbie Mainoo makes his Manchester United under-18s debut, at just 15
  • 30/10/21: Kobbie Mainoo makes his debut for Manchester United under-21s
  • 11/5/22: Kobbie Mainoo helps Manchester United win the FA Youth Cup
  • 10/1/23: Kobbie Mainoo makes Manchester United debut as starter v Charlton in Carabao Cup quarter-final
  • 19/2/23: Kobbie Mainoo makes his Premier League debut against Leicester City as a substitute
  • 26/11/23: Kobbie Mainoo makes his first Premier League start, a 3-0 win against Everton
  • 29/11/23: Kobbie Mainoo makes his Champions League debut for Manchester United at Galatasaray
  • 1/2/24: Kobbie Mainoo scores his first Premier League goal, a winner at Wolves
  • 3/2/24: Kobbie Mainoo collects his first Manchester United player of the month award
  • 8/3/24: Kobbie Mainoo wins the Premier League’s goal of the month award
  • 19/3/24: Kobbie Mainoo called into the England squad for the very first time

England v Brazil - International Friendly

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

Mainoo deserves to be in Euro 2024 mix

Some may think that this is all coming too soon for Mainoo and that his rise into the England setup has been accelerated just because he plays for United.

That is part of the point here though; Mainoo is showing his quality for United, dealing with the expectations levels admirably.

Mainoo has played in some huge games for United this season and hasn’t looked overawed at all, summing up the 18-year-old’s maturity.

The spot next to Rice in the England midfield is up for grabs; Kalvin Phillips is out of the squad, Conor Gallagher didn’t impress against Brazil and Jordan Henderson has suffered a mixed year with Al-Ettifaq and Ajax.

Why can’t Mainoo take that spot? If you’re good enough, you’re old enough, and the chance to play alongside Rice may give England fans a glimpse of the future – a future which may come sooner than some expected.

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