Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has confirmed that Kobbie Mainoo is “close” to making his first-team comeback.
The teenager injured his ankle in pre-season and he has missed the start of the season but, speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, ten Hag says he hopes to give the midfielder “some minutes” against FC Copenhagen in the Champions League next week:
“He is close. He is already training with us. Not today but I think, next week, he will have some minutes in the team. So then he can catch up his game minutes. So he is really improving and ready to get back in the squad for games.”
Fans on X are delighted to hear that Mainoo is back on the training pitch and they are keenly anticipating his return to first-team action:
He’s back 😍😍😍
— KOL (@heiskol) October 20, 2023
Exciting times 😁
— Miles (@automationlad) October 20, 2023
Hes 100% pogba regan imo
— The United Way (@Mussie27685945) October 20, 2023
We’re gonna start seeing Case’s role being limited as the season goes on especially if both Amrabat & Kobbie can stay fit
— Bhungane (@ItsSousBruuh) October 20, 2023
Kobbie Mainoo baller 🔥
— Uncle Wilson (@iam_wilsons) October 20, 2023
He’s going to cook
— Rasmus-_-11 (@11Rasmus11) October 20, 2023
— Marvelous (@Mboss5050) October 20, 2023
Mainoo can add something different to United’s midfield
Ten Hag is a big fan of the 18-year-old. He gave him his debut against Charlton Athletic in the Carabao Cup last season. The midfielder also played versus Reading in the FA Cup before getting his first league appearance against Leicester City.
There have been some comparisons made to Paul Pogba in terms of Mainoo’s profile. He has excellent close ball control, and he can get himself out of tight spaces with his strength and quick feet. Compared to the likes of Mason Mount, Christian Eriksen, Sofyan Amrabat and Casemiro, he offers the team a very different skill set, which ten Hag is keen to take advantage of.