Kobbie Mainoo

A cutout profile photo of Manchester United's Kobbie Mainoo set against a white background
Stephen Ganavas

February 17, 2024

Who is Kobbie Mainoo?

Manchester United have been screaming out for the club to sign a midfielder with Kobbie Mainoo’s capabilities for many years.

As luck would have it, they were able to produce him in-house, producing a player that is ready to come in and play solid Premier League minutes from the get-go.

And they aren’t just throwaway minutes either. He is playing a crucial in stabilising United’s midfield and bringing a level of technical consistency that has been missing for some time.

When he is able to pop up with goals like the one he scored earlier this season away at Wolves, you can just tell he is ready for the big time.

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Kobbie Mainoo's style of play

Kobbie Mainoo has brought a different flavour of player to the Manchester United double-pivot. He can control a game and more than fulfil his role within the limited confines of what Erik ten Hag asks of his pivots to play: safe, and feed the ball to Bruno Fernandes.

And so, we haven’t yet seen the absolute maximum of Mainoo’s ceiling, but the early returns have been positive.

In his short career so far, he looks neat and tidy playing between the lines, and he can absorb pressure in those slow build-up phases to open up more space for players further up the field.

Physically, he is not easily out muscled. He blends this very good core strength with excellent maneuverability that helps him absorb and break out of pressure. There is no better example of this maneuverability than the wonder-goal he scored against Wolves.

He is so good at leveraging his body to win the ball and maintain possession too. He gets that early bit of body weight into the side of his opponent to engage and assume position early and it makes him really effective as a duellist.

The special goal Mainoo scored against Wolves was a little glimpse into what the future might hold for him. A chance to take on more responsibility for propelling United forward and getting more value out of his technical and physical quality, stepping through and around players, and then providing the most delightful of finishing touches.

Mainoo is just getting started, but he is also ready for so much more. United fans have been desperate for the club to sign a midfielder with these capabilities for so long, and now they’ve managed to find one in-house. Now it’s all about managing his role, managing his minutes, and letting him naturally prosper.

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Kobbie Mainoo is a ready-made senior athlete that brings a wonderful technical consistency to Manchester United’s midfield.

It may be role dependent, but we are yet to see Kobbie Mainoo take over games. We need Erik ten Hag to unshackle him so he can show us what his ceiling looks like at senior level.

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