Manchester United legend Gary Neville reluctantly asserted that Kobbie Mainoo looked like “a Manchester City player”
Manchester United legend Gary Neville insisted that Kobbie Mainoo showed the quality expected from a Manchester City midfielder nowadays. United manager Erik ten Hag gave the 18-year-old his first competitive start for the Red Devils against the Toffees.
United defeated Everton 0-3 at Goodison Park in the Premier League clash on Sunday with Mainoo playing a crucial role. He partnered Scott McTominay in a double-pivot role, actively participating for 72 minutes before the substitution.
Mainoo made an incredible goal-line clearance in the 32nd minute of the game from a James Garner shot. The 18-year-old helped keep Everton at bay despite their continuous onslaught before halftime as they looked for an equaliser.
Neville told Sky Sports that Mainoo looked like a Man City player for his incredible display when his teammates struggled. He said:
“I always judge players when it’s the most difficult part of the game. When Manchester United had their most difficult period in that first half just before halftime for 20 minutes I thought he [Mainoo] was the only player who showed up, the only player who still looked like himself. The biggest compliment I can pay him, and it hurts to say this, I hope people can take this in the right spirit… he looked like a Manchester City player.”
United continued their winning form in the Premier League with this victory, currently four points away from the top four. The Red Devils started the season dreadfully as they’ve already lost nine games from 19 matches in all competitions.
Mainoo missed most of the season due to an ankle injury that halted his chances to impress the manager. The 18-year-old impressed the United staff in the pre-season but suffered an injury against Real Madrid during a friendly.
United have suffered with vulnerability in the midfield as Casemiro struggled with form and has regressed physically in his 30s. New signings Sofyan Amrabat and Mason Mount have failed to make an impact and justify their place as the starters.
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Mainoo’s performance against Everton is a welcome sight for many United fans who love to see an academy player rise. The 18-year-old has all the qualities and temperament to fortify his position in the senior squad. The Old Trafford faithful would be hoping that Mainoo can help United out of their current predicament.
The Red Devils travel to RAMS Park Stadium on Wednesday to face Galatasaray in a must-win Champions League clash. Ten Hag need players of Mainoo’s mentality to extract a positive result from the hostile away game.