Former Manchester United forward Anthony Elanga has compared academy starlet Kobbie Mainoo to former United midfielder Paul Pogba.
Nottingham Forest forward Anthony Elanga has compared his former Manchester United academy teammate Kobbie Mainoo with Paul Pogba. The matchday squad included Mainoo for the Manchester derby, but he did not feature in the game.
The Red Devils lost 3-0 against their local rivals Manchester City in the Premier League game at Old Trafford. The matchday squad included the 18-year-old because the senior team’s defensive midfielder Casemiro was not yet match-fit.
United manager Erik ten Hag has struggled to form a balance with an injury crisis and poor individual performances. The squad has shown vulnerability in many departments and midfield has received stern criticism. The new signings, Sofyan Amrabat and Mason Mount, have not delivered the significant impact expected from them.
Casemiro and Christian Eriksen have shown their ability on the ball but ageing has regressed their physical capabilities. They struggled to cope with the opponent’s attacks whenever they played together and lacked the energy to keep up.
Elanga told Mirror that Mainoo reminds him of World Cup winner, Pogba and that he is the next breakout star. He said:
“Kobbie Mainoo. He is one of my close guys that I still speak to at United and I believe he is next the top one, his talent is unreal. When I played with him in the academy I always thought he had similar attributes to Paul Pogba. They are not the same player but just the way he moves and they can both do everything, defensive, offensive, he has a mixture of everything and is really good on and off the ball.”
Mainoo received a comparison with Pogba by many experts due to his all-round qualities. The 18-year-old has shown incredible versatility at the academy level by playing No. 6, 8 and 10 roles.
The England U19 possess good playmaking skills and decision-making to distribute the ball and dictate the tempo for his team. Mainoo works hard for his team and does a lot of defensive tasks while applying his game intelligence and anticipation.
This is one of Mainoo’s differences with Pogba as the Frenchman struggled in the deeper role. The 18-year-old stands at 1.75 meters but possesses significant strength to hold his ground on duels.
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The United manager needs fresh legs and midfielders with passion, energy and quality to dictate the midfield. Mainoo can be exactly what the Dutchman need in his senior team with the added desire to prove his worth.