Ten Hag explains Mainoo debut decision

Tuesday 10 January 2023 18:59

Kobbie Mainoo was handed his senior Manchester United debut in the Carabao Cup tie against Charlton Athletic.

The 17-year-old was named in Erik ten Hag's midfield for the quarter-final encounter at Old Trafford, which finished 3-0 to United following a goal from Antony and Marcus Rashford's late brace.

It is a great reward for the youngster's progress after he scored in the friendly against Cadiz, during the winter training camp.

Watch Kobbie Mainoo score against Cadiz in a friendly game.

Mainoo, born in Stockport, becomes the second Academy prospect promoted into senior football for the first time by Ten Hag, after striker Charlie McNeill came off the bench during the Europa League defeat to Real Sociedad.

He is the eighth man to debut under the Dutchman, with new arrival Jack Butland waiting for his bow, as Tom Heaton made his first start between the sticks. Heaton, who initially came through the ranks at United before leaving to establish himself, came on as a substitute against Young Boys in the Champions League in 2021.

“For, all of us it is a big game and for him, it is a great opportunity," Ten Hag told club media ahead of kick-off. "He did well at the winter camp in Spain, he did very well against Everton in the [behind-closed-doors] friendly, so he deserved to play.

"So I am happy to give him the opportunity, but it is about [what is] deserved.”

Watch Erik's pre-match interview Video

Watch Erik's pre-match interview

Ten Hag explains his eight changes, which include a debut for Mainoo and Martinez's return...

Mainoo was part of the FA Youth Cup-winning squad last season, along with Alejandro Garnacho, who also started against the Addicks.

The homegrown schemer has represented England at Under-17 and Under-18 level and played 60 minutes for the Reds on Tuesday, before being withdrawn for Casemiro.