Teenage phenom Kobbie Mainoo is quickly becoming a fan-favorite player for both Manchester United and the England national team. The midfielder essentially burst onto the scene as a relatively unknown 18-year-old prospect just a few months ago. He grabbed his official Premier League debut in February of 2023, but an ankle injury kept him on the sidelines at the start of the current campaign.

After recovering from the setback, Mainoo made his first club appearance of the 2023/24 season in November. While United struggled around this time, the Red Devils thumped Everton 3-0 in the youngster’s first start of the campaign. The English giants have continued to have inconsistency issues, but Mainoo has been one of the few bright spots in the team.

Manager Erik ten Hag has relied on the teen as one of his key players in recent months. The Dutch coach likely did not expect the youngster to become a regular starter at the start of the season. Nevertheless, Mainoo has been tasked with starting some significant matches since December. This includes league fixtures against Liverpool, Manchester City, and Tottenham Hotspur, as well as the recent epic FA Cup quarterfinal against the rival Reds.

Teen is already being compared to previous greats in midfield

The boost in form has earned Mainoo a spot in the England national team squad. Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate even opted to play the midfielder in both of their most recent matches. The teen made his full senior England debut against Brazil earlier this month before then starting a game against Belgium. These two national teams are currently ranked in the top five in the world by FIFA.

Much like Manchester United, England also struggled in these recent games. Mainoo, however, was certainly not the problem. The Three Lions looked shaky in defense, but the teen midfielder was one of the standout players in the entire team.

Due to the impressive display, English media members have since compared the young Mainoo to stars such as Paul Scholes, Andrea Pirlo, and Luka Modric. This is incredible praise for a player that many soccer fans around the world did not even know about just five months ago. However, both Ten Hag and Southgate will likely attempt to cool the hype to keep pressure off of the budding star.

Southgate set for big call ahead of 2024 Euros

Mainoo’s Premier League statistics do not exactly jump off of the page. He currently does not rank high among his peers in various important categories. WhoScored also currently ranks the youngster 38th out of all central/defensive midfielders with at least a dozen English top-flight appearances this season.

Nevertheless, the teen gives both United and England a different dimension in the middle of the pitch. Somewhat of a cross between a number six and eight, perhaps Mainoo’s best attribute is his composure on the ball. This particular quality is not seen in statistics and is quite astounding considering the player’s age.

Comparisons to Pirlo and Modric are premature, however, Mainoo is undroppable at the moment at United. This is partially due to the club’s lack of solid options at the position, but also because of the youngster’s qualities.

With the national team, Mainoo’s emergence will give Southgate a headache heading into the 2024 Euros. Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham are certain to be regular starters at the competition for England. This means that there is one more spot available in Southgate’s starting XI. Conor Gallagher is currently the favorite, but Mainoo could very well take this position.

Ultimately, Southgate will most likely want to watch Mainoo more in action at United before making his decision. While the youngster’s stock is rising, both coaches should avoid putting too much pressure on the teen. After all, he currently only has 25 total senior appearances under his belt for club and country.