Published On: Wed, Feb 28th, 2024

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag’s promise in private chat with Kobbie Mainoo speaks volumes | Football | Sport

Erik ten Hag’s second season as Manchester United manager hasn’t gone to plan, overseeing a 15th defeat and 10th in the Premier League against Fulham on Saturday. However, the Dutchman has stayed true to his pledge to turn academy prospects into first-team regulars during his two-year reign.

Ten Hag has made Alejandro Garnacho a regular starter in attack after the 19-year-old winger broke through during the season before his arrival.

Omari Forson and Willy Kambwala are among the other starlets to have become regular fixtures in United’s senior matchday squads, with the latter earning his first Premier League start last time out.

But this season has been about the emergence of Kobbie Mainoo. The 18-year-old has become a stalwart of Ten Hag’s midfield and looks to have the minerals to retain that status for years to come.

He has slotted in seamlessly alongside Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes after instantly impressing in starts at hostile grounds against Everton, Galatasaray, Liverpool and Newcastle United.

United’s results haven’t matched Ten Hag’s standards this term, attracting pressure over his future as manager at the start of the INEOS era.

However, Mainoo has revealed a private conversation with the Dutchman, hailing him for aiding his development and breakthrough onto the senior scene.

“He just wanted me to be more dominant and just demand the ball all the time,” Mainoo told club media.

“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.”

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