Neil Ryan, Travis Binnion and Neil Wood have named Kobbie Mainoo as one of those worth watching at Manchester United.
Ryan — now the coach of the England under—21 team – worked with Kobbie Mainoo when he coached the Red Devils under-16 team, and immediately saw his talents.
“He hit the ball well — powerfully and cleanly,” Ryan told The Athletic. “He could handle it physically.”
Now, working with a 17-year-old in the England youth team, Ryan continues to impress.
“He had some really good performances in the youth system and he started to shine, and I continued to work with him after I selected him for the England national team. In one camp he has been in so far, he has really succeeded.
“He was great against the Netherlands and also played against Belgium — another high-level game for him. He performed well in this, too.”
It seems that Kobbie Mainoo enjoys the challenge every time he rises a step higher on the career ladder, and, according to journalist Andy Mitten, the young man has the right mindset to succeed at Old Trafford.
This opinion was supported by the current United under-21 manager Travis Binnion.
“As a person, he’s a pretty quiet kid,” he says. “He’s thinking about the game. He’s hardworking. Really popular with teammates.
“He modestly goes about his business, and then allows you to speak for your abilities. He will never become a screamer and a screamer. He has a good football brain.”
Personable and purposeful, Mainu is showing the first signs that he has both the attitude and the abilities he will need to succeed at the club.
He has already broken into Eric Ten Hag’s playing squad, coming on the bench against Newcastle United in October.
Although he did not enter the field that time, further successes at the youth level will definitely be remembered by his Ten Hag.
Mainu was in the team that won the FA Youth Cup with a 3-1 victory over Nottingham Forest in the final, and performed well in the Under-21 team.
Neil Wood — his manager during the Youth Cup success — appreciates the obvious talent of the youth, but suggests that there is room for improvement.
“Kobbie Mainoo had some good performances in the Youth Cup last season,” he said.
“In the final, I thought that both teams would neutralize each other, and that he could hold the ball better, that his movements could be better. I talked to his dad about it after the game.
“It was the next part of his development to play against teams that have players with the same physical fitness as him.
The next challenge was to play in the under-21 team. Will he be able to dominate these games for 90 minutes? There are a lot of video clips dedicated to individual skills these days, but it’s important to watch the whole game and see the balance of this game.
“There is no doubt that he is technically very good and feels comfortable with the ball in his feet, and also gets the ball under pressure. He holds the ball very well and drives the ball well.”
“I would like to see more of his pass range — to see if he has those passes that really hurt opponents, open up the defense or really create attacks,” he added.
“I would like to see more of him from this side, but I think 21 is a sufficient test for him at the moment. He has strength and physique.”
Ryan and Binnion also stress that his passing is an area that needs to be worked on, in particular in terms of advancing the ball.
A wonderful athlete and a smart ball player, Mainu has so far impressed at all levels, but if there is something else to add to his game (and the desire to add it), he has a good chance of becoming a household name.
However, for Binnion, the next step for a teenager will be a loan that will lower the pyramid.
“The next level — playing regularly in the First League, the Championship (on loan) and the Premier League – will be another challenge for him.”
This is what the player is preparing for in advance.
“He does a lot of work behind the scenes physically to make sure he handles it and succeeds.”