Meet Kobbie Mainoo, 18, who was spotted at nine and made a ‘unbelievable’ debut that impressed Roy Keane

Meet Kobbie Mainoo 18 who was spotted at nine and made a ‘unbelievable debut that impressed Roy Keane

Kobbie Mainoo’s Premier League debut for Manchester United was nothing short of perfection, drawing praise from football pundit Gary Neville.

The 18-year-old’s performance left a lasting impression, prompting Neville to suggest that Pep Guardiola might have an interest in the young player following his standout display against Everton.

Impressing even the hardest critics in his Sky Sports post-analysis, Roy Keane praised the adolescent wonderkid, Kobbie Mainoo.

“Unbelievable, I don’t want to get too carried away but I’m sure we will,” Keane added.

“He always seemed to know when to go long and when to go short. An all-around performance off the ball.

I know the club admires him. The manager must trust him enough to send him in for the game against Everton today. Good luck, youngster. He excelled. Great start for him. I hope he stays healthy and gets more games for Man United because he looked like a Man United player today. Great courage, liked watching him.”

Teen wonderkid Mainoo put in an all-action display at Goodison Park against Everton
After a five-star performance in the Goodison Park pressure cooker, he is back on track after an ankle injury.

One of Mainoo's many highlights included a decisive clearance off the line
He displayed defensive nous with a line clearance.

In January, Mainoo debuted in the EFL Cup win over Charlton.

An early substitute debut in a 3-1 FA Cup triumph over Reading was followed by a late league appearance against Leicester City.

Mainoo celebrates wining the FA Youth Cup with Man Utd's U18's
Mainoo with the FA Youth Cup Trophy

However, Carrington officials believe the gifted youngster might lead the midfield for years.

In May 2022, the Stockport-born teenager received his first professional contract after helping with the FA Youth Cup last year.

On United's preseason tour of the US in the summer Mainoo starred
Mainoo featured on United’s summer US preseason tour

His improvement with the Red Devils U18s and U21s has impressed Erik ten Hag, who wants to play him more in the first team.

Brought up with Cheadle & Gatley, United scouted him at nine, and he rose through the youth divisions to become a top prospect. BBC Manchester commentator Jonny Crowther termed him “different class.”

Last season, he dazzled spectators in the EFL Trophy against Carlisle. Ten Hag has included Mainoo in first-team training sessions. Mainoo was first picked in the matchday squad for a 0-0 draw at Newcastle last season.

Ten Hag said Mainoo, who has represented England’s U18 team, wasn’t there for numbers.

“Young players must perform, not experience. You are here to contribute to the team, to the team’s success, and that is why he is here.”

Mainoo has progressed at Old Trafford since the age of nine. Back in February, he signed a long-term contract with the club. Mainoo is anticipated to lead United’s midfield for years.

“You are here to contribute to the team, to the team’s success, and that is why he is here.”

With Casemiro reportedly leaving and Frenkie de Jong not coming from Barcelona, Mainoo might fill the midfield vacancy United has coveted since Paul Pogba left.

He may become a club legend, as many expected the Frenchman to.