Friday , July 12 2024

Footage re-emerges of Erik ten Hag sharing emotional moment with Kobbie Mainoo after Man Utd’s Carabao Cup triumph final at Wembley last year… as Dutchman tips the teenager for a ‘big career’ after superb breakthrough season

Just over a year after sharing a special moment with Erik ten Hag at Wembley, Kobbie Mainoo has been a shining light during a difficult season for Manchester United.

The teenager has enjoyed a breakthrough season at Old Trafford since making his first-team debut in a 3-0 win against Everton in November last year.

Mainoo has made 22 appearances in all competitions, scoring against Newport in the FA Cup third round and a dramatic last-minute winner against Wolves last month.

Ten Hag has trusted the 18-year-old to perform on the biggest stage and was rewarded with another superb display in United’s epic 4-3 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter-final.

And it’s not surprising to see the Dutchman holding Mainoo in such high regard, given the way he affectionately spoke to him when United won the Carabao Cup at Wembley in February last year.

Erik ten Hag and Kobbie Mainoo (right) share a hug after United's 4-3 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday

Erik ten Hag and Kobbie Mainoo (right) share a hug after United’s 4-3 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday

The pair shared a similar moment at Wembley last year after United won the Carabao Cup

The pair shared a similar moment at Wembley last year after United won the Carabao Cup

After lifting the Carabao Cup, Ten Hag spoke at length to Mainoo, who wasn't part of his squad at the time

After lifting the Carabao Cup, Ten Hag spoke at length to Mainoo, who wasn’t part of his squad at the time 

After United beat Newcastle 2-0 to win a first trophy in six seasons, ten Hag took time to talk at length with Mainoo, despite the fact the teenager was not part of the squad back then.

Footage shows ten Hag, with his winner’s medal still around his neck, making a beeline for Mainoo, before putting his arm around his neck and speaking animately for a few moments.

The young midfielder, who watched the final from the stands, nods in approval at ten Hag and smiles, before the United manager pats him on the head and moves on.

Speaking last week, ten Hag was full of praise for Mainoo, but insisted the youngster should be allowed to build his own identity, after he was compared with AC Milan great Clarence Seedorf.

Seedorf won 87 caps for Holland and the Champions League with Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan in a stellar career.

‘I think never ever compare players with another player. Never. Because Kobbie Mainoo, but also other players, they build their own identity,’ ten Hag said.

‘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.’

Along with Alejandro Garnacho, who is nine months older, Mainoo is both United’s present and future.

The 18-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough season for Manchester United

The 18-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough season for Manchester United 

Mainoo was again impressive during Sunday's epic 4-3 win against Liverpool in the FA Cup

Mainoo was again impressive during Sunday’s epic 4-3 win against Liverpool in the FA Cup

Ten Hag has urged Mainoo (left) and Alejandro Garnacho (middle) to remain hungry to improve

Ten Hag has urged Mainoo (left) and Alejandro Garnacho (middle) to remain hungry to improve

Garnacho has started 29 of his 38 appearances in all competitions this season, but ten Hag insisted both teenagers should not feel their places in the team are guaranteed.

‘Incredibly good,’ the United manager told Rio Ferdinand on TNT Sport when asked how the duo had performed this season.

‘But they [Garnacho and Mainoo] are just on the start of the journey, and that is also what they have to understand.

‘They are now in the first team, but getting here is much more easy than staying here, and there’s going to be a big fight for them [to do that].’ 

See also  Marcus Rashford absence from Man Utd squad 'an internal matter', says Erik ten Hag | Football News

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