in

Harry Maguire reveals what he thought when Kobbie Mainoo first turned up at Man Utd training

HARRY MAGUIRE knew Kobbie Mainoo had the wow factor the first time he clapped eyes on his young team-mate.

Now Maguire is determined to help guide the 18-year-old through the uniquely intense pressure that goes with playing for both Manchester United and England.

Harry Maguire was immediately impressed by Kobbie Mainoo

6

Harry Maguire was immediately impressed by Kobbie MainooCredit: Getty

The centre-half is adamant playing in the Old Trafford goldfish bowl means United’s England players — like Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and himself — experience harsher scrutiny than those at other clubs.

And that might serve as a warning to Mainoo, as he goes through a honeymoon period as an immensely talented United rookie celebrating his first call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad.

Maguire has emerged from a professional crisis — when he was largely frozen out by United boss Erik ten Hag — to prove himself once more as a regular starter for England and its most famous club.

And now he believes Mainoo has a chance to join him on the plane to Germany for this summer’s Euros.

Maguire said: “I’ve been a massive fan of Kobbie’s since he first started training with us.

“I remember talking to Tom Heaton about him and I was saying, ‘I feel like this boy has got everything’.

“He can handle the ball brilliantly. He’s really strong, powerful, and you can see his progression to play that No 6 role, especially for United.

“The ‘six’ role is a huge responsibility and I’m sure the positional part of his game will improve drastically.

CASINO SPECIAL – BEST CASINO WELCOME OFFERS

Kobbie Mainoo has earned his first ever England call-up at just 18-years-old

6

Kobbie Mainoo has earned his first ever England call-up at just 18-years-oldCredit: Getty

“You’ve seen the amount of ability and talent he has, and he fully deserves his call-up. A role and responsibility for the senior players at Manchester United is to bring through academy players.

“The club is always built on giving opportunities to youngsters, we have numerous of them training with us a lot, we try to make them feel welcome and we have done that to Kobbie.”

Kobbie Mainoo reacts to getting first senior England call-up

Maguire likens Mainoo to Jude Bellingham — who made his Three Lions debut at 17 — in terms of his remarkable maturity.

The United defender said: “I didn’t have any concerns about Kobbie.

“It’s incredible he’s only 18, he’s so mature. He’s a bit like Jude when he was a young boy. He’s got a mature head on his shoulders.

“I see day in, day out, his ability in training. I’ve congratulated him, he thoroughly deserves this. He has been excellent for us this season.”

Asked whether Mainoo could make England’s Euros squad, Maguire replied: “I don’t see why not.

“To play at a major tournament, it’s big to have experience but also the young ones do come in and sometimes they play with no fear and can excel.

“We have a lot of good centre-mids, players who have shown that they can do it in major tournaments.

“He’ll keep working hard, I’m sure he will, because he’s a great lad. And we will see where it goes.”

Maguire has likened Mainoo to Jude Bellingham

6

Maguire has likened Mainoo to Jude BellinghamCredit: AFP

Maguire’s own England spot has been the subject of debate for years — with Southgate staying loyal to the 31-year-old, who is expected to win his 63rd cap against Brazil on Saturday night.

Last autumn, when Maguire was out of the first team at United, he scored an own goal in a 3-1 win over Scotland while receiving dog’s abuse from the Hampden Park crowd.

At that point, it seemed unlikely he could force his way back into Ten Hag’s United plans and prove himself as a first-choice England player at the Euros — but the Yorkshireman has turned his form around since.

Maguire is, though, adamant that being a United player intensified the spotlight.

He said: “Different clubs have different levels of scrutiny and that is a big aspect when fans see Gareth picking a squad.

“I could have played for Leicester and had a bad game, six good ones, a couple of bad ones and everyone would think I’m in amazing form.

“If I do that for Manchester United, it doesn’t happen like that.

“Fans see the scrutiny. Every goal we concede is analysed and that’s the pressure of playing for United.

Maguire was abused after his own goal against Scotland last September

6

Maguire was abused after his own goal against Scotland last SeptemberCredit: Reuters
The centre-back thinks playing for Man Utd comes with increased pressure

6

The centre-back thinks playing for Man Utd comes with increased pressureCredit: AP

“You see it a lot with England careers. You get built up and up and then you’ve got to maintain that level to stay there otherwise you get shut down pretty quickly.

“Everything you do when you play for a big club is analysed.

“Every player who’s played for United and England has a time when people haven’t been happy.

“Beckham had a lot, even Wayne Rooney had a lot of things said and he was one of the greatest players ever to play for his country.

“Wayne went through times when there was scrutiny on him. But it’s part of playing for such an historic club. I wouldn’t change it.”

Maguire thanked Southgate for showing faith in him during tough times but claims his England form merited his continued inclusion, even when he wasn’t a United regular.

He said: “There’s loads of people out there now who probably don’t think I should be in the squad. There’s millions of people that think I should be.

“But from how I’ve played for my country in previous tournaments and games, not playing for my club as regularly as I should for six months shouldn’t really warrant me not being picked in a squad — because when I did play for my country, I performed well.”

Maguire has thanked Gareth Southgate for the faith he has shown in him

6

Maguire has thanked Gareth Southgate for the faith he has shown in himCredit: Getty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Transfer news: Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool to battle for Real Madrid star Rodrygo

Man Utd: Dan Ashworth ‘picks out first signing’ to stick knife into Newcastle | Football | Sport