England boss Gareth Southgate is keeping a close eye on teenage talent Kobbie Mainoo having been impressed by his “fabulous” breakthrough at Manchester United.
The 18-year-old academy graduate joined the Red Devils aged nine and has long been tipped for stardom, going onto make his first-team bow in January 2023.
Mainoo has now made 14 appearances in all competitions for United and would have played more had he not sustained an injury during their US tour in the summer.
The midfielder has represented England up to under-19s level and his burgeoning displays have impressed senior boss Southgate.
“He’s doing brilliantly,” the England manager said after Thursday’s Nations League draw in Paris. “I’m not certain he’s necessarily going to be a defensive midfielder, as such.
“He’s quite a progressive player but he’s had a fabulous start to his career and it will be good to monitor him as we go forward.”
England return to action with Wembley friendlies against Brazil and Belgium as preparations continue for Euro 2024 in Germany.
Whether the tournament is too soon for Mainoo remains to be seen but Southgate’s side are short of in-form midfield options, plus he took Jude Bellingham to Euro 2020 aged 17.
Stockport-born Mainoo is also eligible for Ghana and their Football Association has expressed interest in calling up the United teenager.
Randy Abbey, a member of the executive council of the Ghana FA, last week told The Times: “The Ghana Football Association is interested in monitoring, attracting, and persuading all eligible talents for its various national teams.
“Kobbie is definitely one of these incredible talents and the association would love to work with him and many like him at home and abroad.”
Mainoo has started United’s last nine matches in all competitions and followed his first senior goal against Newport in the FA Cup with a stoppage-time winner at Wolves.
Last week’s outstanding solo goal secured a 4-3 victory at Molineux and led to team-mate Rasmus Hojlund to describe him as a “generational talent”.
Southgate has a number of tough decisions to make before the Euros roll around, including the composition of his goalkeeping unit.
Jordan Pickford is established as number one but recent back-ups Sam Johnstone and Aaron Ramsdale have fallen down the pecking order at their clubs and experienced Nick Pope is out through injury.
James Trafford and Dean Henderson offer alternatives, as does Rangers goalkeeper Jack Butland.
The 30-year-old Butland has not been called up since June 2019 but his form in Scotland has impressed England goalkeeping coach Martyn Margetson, who says the nine-cap shot-stopper is back “on the radar”.
Southgate said: “It is up in the air. I can’t deny that so again we have to make sure we’re watching everybody – Jack Butland included because he’s obviously playing at a big club and is an experienced keeper.
“It’s not an ideal situation with Aaron not playing, Sam at the moment not playing and Nick injured. We’ll have to see how it plays out.”