Erik ten Hag Refuses Mainoo Comparisons: Southgate Explains Mainoo's Absence

Although many expected Kobbie Mainoo to be on England's roster for the upcoming friendly matches against Brazil and Belgium, Gareth Southgate decided otherwise

by Sead Dedovic
Erik ten Hag Refuses Mainoo Comparisons: Southgate Explains Mainoo's Absence
© Michael Regan/Getty Images Sport

Kobbie Mainoo is a player who attracts a lot of attention with his great performances. The young Englishman impresses day by day, and already now they have started to make comparisons between him and former legends of this sport. The former United footballer, Rio Ferdinand, made a comparison between Kobbie Mainoo and the Dutch star, Clarence Seedorf. 

Not long after that, Erik ten Hag reacted to the statements of not only Ferdinand but also others who compared Mainoo to football legends. Erik Ten Hag pointed out that Mainoo is a unique player, so it is not necessary to compare him with anyone. 

Erik ten Hag has shown enormous trust in this 18-year-old player who impresses everyone from match to match. The Holland expert pointed out that Mainoo can learn from players like Seedorf, but pointed out that Mainoo is still a player who has a unique playing style.

“So I think never ever compare players with another player. Never. Because Kobbie Mainoo, but also other players, they build their own identity.

Don’t compare with anyone. His skillset, that is so typical. And it’s so Kobbie Mainoo, it’s nothing to do with other players.

Of course, he can learn from other players, especially from great players as Clarence Seedorf was. But Kobbie Mainoo is Kobbie Mainoo. He has big potential and I’m quite sure he will have a big career.”- Erik Ten Hag said, as quoted by Teamtalk!

Gareth Southgate on Kobbie Mainoo

Although many expected Kobbie Mainoo to be on England's roster for the upcoming friendly matches against Brazil and Belgium, Gareth Southgate decided otherwise. The English coach emphasized that England has many talents, but not everyone can be given a chance, especially considering their lack of experience. This season, several players have made breakthroughs, such as Elliott, Lewis, or Mainoo.

“There are some players with the Under-21s, especially in midfield, who are doing exceptionally well. The likes of Kobbie Mainoo, Harvey Elliott, Rico [Lewis] was with us last time, Archie Gray at Leeds is doing very, very well.”-Southgate said.

Southgate believes Mainoo has been brilliant this season. However, after playing a few games, Gareth believes that Mainoo still needs some time to develop properly. He pointed out that he has always given young players a chance, but things are not as simple as they seem.

“I think that he’s doing brilliantly for a young player, and we’re never slow to put a young payer into the seniors, but he’s only had a handful of games and you have to be very careful development-wise in making those decisions at the right time."

Southgate believes it's crucial to provide Mainoo with the necessary room to grow and progress at his own pace. He emphasizes that Mainoo hasn't accumulated as many appearances as players like Jude Bellingham or Bukayo Saka did when they were initially introduced to the team. 

Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate© Alex Pantling / Getty Images Sport

It is interesting how much Erik Ten Hag believes in him, which he has shown many times this season. When you have such trust from the manager, it is not a problem to give your best. The Dutch expert immediately realized at the start of the season that Mainoo was a player with a bright career ahead of him. This 18-year-old defensive midfielder knew how to return it to the coach with his excellent performances. Mainoo has become a key player in this team, with huge potential to progress even further.

Gareth Southgate stresses Mainoo's impressive performance as a young player, highlighting his talent and the valuable experience he's gaining at Manchester United. Additionally, Southgate praises Mainoo's character, indicating that he possesses qualities crucial for success in football.

Even though Manchester United is struggling this season, players like Mainoo give optimism to the coach and fans of this team that they can get back on track. Fans of this club have always focused on the academy and believed in players who come from there. That practice continues. United has produced many great players from the academy in recent years, with enormous potential. Kobbie Mainoo is one of them. Besides him, there are players like Alejandro Garnacho, Hannibal Mejbri who is on loan, Willy Kambwala, Alvaro Fernandez, etc. United has always built its club on the academy, which has proven to be important for their success.

The mentioned players will surely continue to develop and progress even further. This will ensure United is a stable team with the potential to achieve great things. This summer, United plans to invest a huge amount of money in reinforcements, aiming to get back to the top.

Erik Ten Hag Gareth Southgate