Which Brazilian was Mainoo's idol?

Saturday 23 March 2024 08:00

Kobbie Mainoo will become the youngest Manchester United player to appear in a match against Brazil for England if he features against the South Americans on Saturday.

The Academy graduate was initially called up to the Three Lions' Under-21s for the current international break but was promoted to the senior squad on Monday.

Mainoo, 18, will hope to play some part for Gareth Southgate's team in the friendlies against Brazil (on Saturday, 19:00 GMT) and Belgium (on Tuesday, 19:45 GMT).

If Kobbie does feature against the Selecao this weekend, it seems fitting that one of the players he idolised as a young child is a globally recognised maestro from that part of the world.

Question and answer with Kobbie Video

Question and answer with Kobbie

Playing With Freedom clip | Watch what happened when Kobbie Mainoo went back to his Academy roots for a special Q&A...

"Growing up, it was Ronaldinho," said the midfielder, when he was asked about his idol in a Q&A session with our Academy Under-8s, as part of his Playing with Freedom interview.

Former Barcelona and AC Milan attacker Ronaldinho famously came close to signing for United back in 2003 and, of course, triumphed at the World Cup in 2002 with Brazil.

Despite his admiration for the 2005 Ballon d'Or winner, Stockport-born Mainoo also looked up to iconic Reds, as refernced in a recent interview with BBC Radio 5 Live at England's training camp.

"I'd say [Wayne] Rooney," he said.

"I love [Paul] Scholes as well, and King Eric [Cantona]. It was a bit before my time but I can still appreciate him."

Follow updates from the international break in our dedicated blog on ManUtd.com and in the United App across the week.