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What Kobbie Mainoo did to Erling Haaland in FA Cup Final showed off an underrated side of his game

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Manchester United youngster Kobbie Mainoo was the man of the match in the FA Cup Final, with a complete performance.

There should be no questions over Kobbie Mainoo after his remarkable and frankly unstoppable rise to the top.

If there were any gaps in his game, what might they be? Perhaps you could argue that in the FA Cup quarter-finals and semi-finals, Erik ten Hag substituted him at around the 70 minute mark. Could his intensity keep up for the full 90 when it really mattes?

The answer is yes. Mainoo played all 90 against Manchester City in the FA Cup Final, and produce a man of the match performance.

Erling Haaland of Manchester City is challenged by Kobbie Mainoo of Manchester United inside the penalty area during the Emirates FA Cup Final matc...

Photo by Justin Setterfield – The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Kobbie Mainoo shows his strength

If there was another hole you could try to pick in Kobbie Mainoo’s game, and you’d really be clutching at straws at a player who made his first Premier League start away at Sean Dyche’s Everton, it would be to question whether his diminutive frame could be a weakness.

There have been no signs of that. While Kobbie Mainoo’s strengths are his movement and clever technicality, being able to do anything with his feet, he can hold his own in the strength department too.

The FA Cup Final provided a clear example of this, when Mainoo had to defend one on one inside the penalty to defend a 74th minute corner.

Mainoo was challenged by powerhouse striker Erling Haaland, and it was the Norwegian who was sent tumbling.

Another player could quite easily have been shrugged aside or barged off the ball by Haaland, to create a goalscoring chance.

Mainoo showed he has the power to back up his skilful reading of the game, blocking Haaland off and within the rules, blocking his route to goal and sending him to the floor.

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

Kobbie Mainoo is the complete player

Kobbie Mainoo is only 19 and yet he looks like the complete midfielder. Manchester United legend Paul Scholes said the teenager is 10 times the player he was at his age, urging fans and pundits not to waste their time with comparisons.

What you notice on the rewatch of the cup final is how Mainoo was always in the right place at the right time. His defensive work was immaculate.

He started the move which led to Manchester United’s second goal, that he scored, and then in stoppage time, it was his clearance up the pitch which led to Rasmus Hojlund terrorising Julian Alvarez and then winning a foul to ice the game.

Even if Mainoo doesn’t improve, he is an outstanding player United are lucky to have. But considering he is just getting started and has the potential to get better, he really is a scary prospect.

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