Kobbie Mainoo named to England squad for upcoming friendlies against Brazil and Belgium

20 March 2024 2562
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Kobbie Mainoo, a midfielder for Manchester United, has been called up to Gareth Southgate's senior England squad in preparation for the March internationals.

Despite making a splash at club level this season, the 18-year-old was excluded from Southgate's initial 25-man squad, with the England manager expressing his intention to avoid overloading Mainoo too early in his career.

Mainoo's first appointment was to the Under-21 squad but England announced that he will now be joining the senior team instead.

He is not joining in lieu of an injured player, England has clarified, as the original 25-man team all arrived at St George's Park on Tuesday, and Mainoo is simply integrating with the squad for the forthcoming friendly matches.

Mainoo has played for England at the Under-17 to Under-19 levels and now aims to skip Under-21 duty to contest for his first senior cap.

His advancement to the senior England team extends Mainoo's remarkable breakout season. Following an encouraging pre-season, the young midfielder found himself out due to an ankle injury for over two months, but he made a quick impact after his return to United.

Erik ten Hag has granted Mainoo 20 appearances so far this season across all competitions, including 14 starting roles in the Premier League.

There was initial pushback from Southgate in response to calls for Mainoo's England debut, who commends Mainoo's abilities but urged for judiciousness. He compared Mainoo's circumstance to Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham situations, both of whom had double the senior experience before their first England cap.

Nonetheless, Mainoo now has the opportunity to earn his debut senior cap in the upcoming friendlies against Brazil and Belgium, which will be held at Wembley Stadium.