Gareth Southgate makes decision on Kobbie Mainoo ahead of Belgium friendly –
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Gareth Southgate makes decision on Kobbie Mainoo ahead of Belgium friendly



The 18-year-old has enjoyed a fine breakout season at club level with Manchester United, making 20 appearances for the Red Devils this term.

Mainoo’s form saw him rewarded with a call-up to the England senior side for their March internationals and he made his Three Lions debut late on in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at home to Brazil.

It is now being widely reported that Gareth Southgate will deploy Mainoo from the off when Belgium visit Wembley Stadium on Tuesday night.

When asked in his pre-match press conference if Mainoo could start, Southgate replied: “Definitely, Kobbie has a chance.

“In terms of progress into our squad, he is benefiting because we are not as rich in resources in that area [midfield]. But we are really happy to see how he has dealt with training and we see things he can bring already. I am mindful that we have to look after him and make sure his development is at the right speed, but the opportunities are there as well.


“I think sometimes, with the really young ones, they are not even thinking about that. It is all flowing and maybe then as you get a bit older you start to think about it a bit more. When you get even older, you cannot care less about it and you go again. It is a beautiful, innocent moment when he is just in the flow and lapping up the opportunities as they come.

“He seems very calm. Definitely, you can see he is taking everything in. Talking to him tactically, he seems able to take all those concepts on. A lot of young players now, with their academy education, are able to do that. You can see his comfort with the ball and receiving in tight areas. There are a lot of steps being taken in a very short period of time, but you saw in the brief cameo the other day some of the qualities he has.”

Meanwhile, Ivan Toney is expected to get the nod up front as he stakes a claim to be Harry Kane’s deputy at Euro 2024, while Jarrod Bowen is also set to start.
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