Mainoo is enjoying an impressive breakthrough season at Old Trafford despite United’s struggle for consistency.
Erik ten Hag has praised Kobbie Mainoo for his positional awareness after the youngster’s debut in the Champions League.
Mainoo has broken into United’s senior team under Ten Hag this season, making his first Premier League start against Everton last weekend. The 18-year-old earned his first European appearance when United were held to a 3-3 draw against Galatasaray mid-week, playing for half an hour in the second half.
“He showed on Sunday he was ready,” Ten Hag said of the academy graduate. “We have to manage three games in six days to get the best results from all the games.
“We have more than 11 players, we have good options there. Sofyan Amrabat showed he was playing a good game. We have to manage the load of the players and it’s about freshness as well.”
Mainoo is in direct competition with Sofyan Amrabat for a place in Ten Hag’s starting lineup. The teenager’s mature qualities as a midfielder could see him get ahead of the Morocco international as soon as this season.
Asked what impresses him the most about Mainoo, Ten Hag responded: “His scanning, it looks like he always has time because he is scanning, he is running free, he is scanning to see the options and make the right decisions.”