Kobbie Mainoo news: How did Erik ten Hag help in Mainoo’s development?

Kobbie Mainoo might just be 18 years of age but he is already proving to be an important part of Manchester United’s setup.

File photo of Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag; Credit; Twitter/ @ManUtd
By Karthik Raman | Feb 29, 2024 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

It has been a struggling campaign on various levels for Manchester United this season. They are already out of the Champions League and Carabao Cup and are far behind in the race for a top-four finish. The only bright spot from an otherwise disappointing campaign is the breakthrough of Kobbie Mainoo. The promising youngster suffered an injury in pre-season, delaying his involvement with the first team. However, he has been a regular with the first team since November and has looked solid every time he has come onto the pitch.

Kobbie Mainoo might just be 18 years of age but he is already proving to be an important part of Manchester United’s setup. Explaining the role that Erik ten Hag has played in his development, Mainoo said in an interview with the club media, “He just wanted me to be more dominant and just demand the ball all the time. And when I first came up with the first team, he told me he was going to push me and he did. He just always demanded more from me and just being involved in every play and just always getting on the ball. He’s been so helpful. And then always guiding me, as well as the senior players, and pushed me to help me keep developing and keep getting better and better. So all credit to him.”

It’s not the easiest place to go: Kobbie Mainoo

Mainoo’s start to the season came in difficult away grounds – Everton’s Goodison Park and Galatasaray’s Ali Sami Yen Stadium. The intimidating atmosphere on these grounds can be difficult for any player to manage, especially for youngsters. However, Mainoo passed both tests quite well by performing at the top of his game. “Yeah, it’s not the easiest places to go. But I had to make an impact. It was my first start, at Everton, and so I just had to take it in my stride as much as possible. I guess it’s not bad. An away start to kind of ready myself for what’s to come I guess. But I enjoyed them both. Yeah, both atmospheres were really good, especially Galatasaray!” he explained.

He further added: “I just try and play my game. The fans are going to be there no matter what. And when we’re at home, I obviously try and use it as fuel. And when we’re away, I guess I kind of use that as fuel as well, because with them being against you, it kind of makes you want to win even more. So it can be used however you want it.”

Mainoo has also scored a couple of important goals, including a fantastic late winner against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Asked about his favourite among them, Mainoo said, “Obviously, the Wolves goal, that was crazy,” he says. “I’ve watched it a few hundred times so it’s sunk in now! To be honest I hadn’t thought about [the celebration] or anything. It just felt right when I scored it, you know. It was a nice clutch moment. Of course, that moment [against Newport] is still special. But under the conditions of the Wolves game, being 3-3 and added time, that edges the other one out a bit more.”

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