Manchester United’s miserable season has been brightened by the emergence of teenage superstar Kobbie Mainoo, who has been a huge asset to Erik ten Hag since breaking into the senior squad. Mainoo has established himself as a regular starter for United over the last few months, with his performances in the middle of the park rewarding his manager’s faith in him.
The 18-year-old has started in each of United’s last 10 league games and deservedly scooped the club’s Player of the Month award for January. He scored his first Premier League goal in the dramatic 4-3 win over Wolves on Thursday and has also been linked with a shock England call-up ahead of this summer’s Euros.
The future certainly looks to be in safe hands at United, with a number of talented youth players hoping to follow Mainoo into the first-team squad. They will need to be managed carefully, of course, but it seems Ten Hag could welcome more academy stars into the senior dressing room if they keep taking their chances to impress.
Express Sport takes a look at three promising youngsters who could soon be making waves at first-team level for United…
Omari Forson has already snatched his chance to impress in the Premier League by grabbing a fine assist against Wolves last week, having been introduced for the last five minutes. He has certainly looked the part when he has featured at senior level this season following his debut in the FA Cup third round victory over Wigan Athletic.
He certainly seems to be held in high regard by Ten Hag, who reportedly believes that Forson has a higher ceiling than Facundo Pellistri after leaving him impressed in pre-season. However, the winger’s long-term future appears to be uncertain, with the Daily Mail claiming that he rejected the offer of a new contract at United last month.
United could have a gem on their hands in the form of Dan Gore, who is another talented midfielder hoping to partner Mainoo at first-team level in future. Picked up from Burnley at the age of eight, he is now knocking on the door of senior football in the Premier League but will first need to learn his trade in the lower divisions.
Gore was loaned to Port Vale in January, with United hoping that he will benefit from the experience of playing against grown men in England’s third tier. He was said to have picked up a minor injury last week but will have plenty of time to impress when he recovers, which could put him firmly in Ten Hag’s thinking ahead of next season.
Willy Kambwala made his senior debut for United against West Ham in December, putting in a solid performance despite the Red Devils falling to a 2-0 loss. He was selected to start alongside Jonny Evans at centre-back and looked impressively strong, while his ability on the ball also made for an encouraging display.
Kambwala has since doubled his tally of Premier League appearances for United, with more senior experience able to help him flourish into a quality defensive option. He could be a longer-term solution to United’s recent issues in this position if he continues to develop on an upward trajectory.
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