Man Utd starlet Kobbie Mainoo is late addition to England squad after tremendous performance against Liverpool

England face Brazil and Belgium during this month’s international break
Gareth Southgate has promoted an U21 star to the senior setup. Gareth Southgate has promoted an U21 star to the senior setup.
Gareth Southgate has promoted an U21 star to the senior setup.

Manchester United prospect Kobbie Mainoo has been called up to the England squad for the first time ahead of the nation’s upcoming friendlies against Brazil and Belgium.

The 18-year-old is currently enjoying a sensational breakout season at Old Trafford which has seen him make 20 appearances in all competitions and he has featured in all of his side’s last 16 matches.

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Mainoo had initially been selected to be part of England’s U21 squad - his first call-up at that level - but has now been fast tracked into the senior team by Gareth Southgate just hours after yet another impressive display against Liverpool in the FA Cup as United ran out 4-3 winners.

The teenager’s composure on such a huge stage has earned him plaudits from the Red Devils faithful, who held up a banner during the game saying ‘If you’re good enough, you’re old enough’ in reference to his initial England snub. 

Former Manchester United and England player Rio Ferdinand has also compared Mainoo’s playing style to that of Netherlands icon and ex-AC Milan hero Clarence Seedorf.

However, Mainoo’s call-up does come as something of a surprise due to Southgate’s recent comments on Thursday which addressed why, at the time, he had only been included at U21 level.

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He said: “So we think ideally, we should allow him that space to develop at his own speed. He’s not at the point in terms of number of games that Jude (Bellingham) and Bukayo (Saka) were when they came in for the first time.

“But I repeat: he’s doing really well for a young player. He’s a good footballer - you can see that. And he’s getting some fabulous experience with Manchester United at the moment. And he looks like a really good character.”

The Athletic had previously reported that Ghana were keeping tabs on Mainoo - FIFA rules state that he would be allowed to represent them due to his age and lack of more than three senior appearances. However, he could now make his senior debut for England this month as he strives for a place in the Euro 2024 squad in just his first season as a professional.

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