Mainoo: Why I felt at home on my first-team debut
Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo believes the environment at the club helped prepare him for a successful first-team debut against Charlton Athletic in the Carabao Cup quarter-final.
The 17-year-old started for the Reds for the first time, playing 59 minutes before being replaced by Casemiro.
This special occasion followed his inclusion in matchday squads for United’s recent Premier League games against Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers, and before that he was part of Erik ten Hag's group for the training camp in Spain during the World Cup.
“I’ve been in training with the lads quite a few times,” Mainoo told MUTV.
“They all made me feel welcome and all gave me words of advice and encouragement. So I felt at home.”
The Stockport-born midfielder only found out he was going to be in the starting line-up on the day.
“Pretty much today,” he revealed, when asked about the timing of his good news.
“I looked at the teamsheet and I was starting. I was a bit shocked but I had to do my job. Yeah, there were some butterflies but it was just exciting.
“I played at Old Trafford in the Youth Cup and I remember that feeling was an amazing feeling. To have that again is brilliant.”
The young midfielder was thrilled to share his special night with his family, who were at the Theatre of Dreams to support him.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling," he added. "I have been at this club all my life and it’s all been building to tonight. And to have my family here watching me, surrounding me, it is just amazing.
“[It was] all the immediate family. If I brought anyone else, it would be too much! But they were all here supporting me, I waved to them after the game, it was brilliant.”
Mainoo helped United to win the Youth Cup last season and this evening (Wednesday), he'll be watching with interest as the campaign to retain the trophy continues with a trip to take on Stoke City.
The game kicks off at 19:00 GMT and it will be shown live on MUTV, ManUtd.com and the United App in the UK and Ireland.
“The Youth Cup was a big part of my season last season," said Kobbie. “It has helped me greatly and I am going to support the lads. I am going to go down and watch it, so that should be good.”
As for what's next in terms of his own development, the midfielder admitted his ambition now is to feature in the first-team squad more often.
“To stay around it and to keep on getting more games is the ultimate goal,” he added. “I want to stay at this club, I’ve been here my whole life.”