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England star leaps to defence of Kobbie Mainoo after England loss in bid to prevent media onslaught

England star leaps to defence of Kobbie Mainoo after England loss in bid to prevent media onslaught

Last night, England slumped to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Iceland in their final warm-up friendly before jetting off to Germany.

The Three Lions kick off their Euro 2024 campaign next Sunday, June 16 against Serbia, with Gareth Southgate submitting his final 26-man squad on Thursday.

As Manchester United fans are already aware, Harry Maguire was unfortunately cut from the group due to a calf injury, while Kobbie Mainoo and Luke Shaw made the manager’s final selection. Marcus Rashford was – somewhat controversially – omitted entirely.

Nevertheless, Friday’s showing at Wembley will have done very little to prevent the players’ pre-Euros jitters, especially those – like Mainoo – who are gearing up for their first-ever major tournament.

Read more: Southgate details the three aspects of Mainoo’s game which give him no ‘hesitation’ to start teenager at the Euros

The youngster started and played the full 90 alongside Declan Rice in midfield, and despite the world-class talent and experience England had on display across the pitch, no player was able to come up with a response to Iceland’s 12th-minute opener.

Post-match, when reflecting on the dismal loss, which saw the team booed off by a dejected Wembley crowd, Rice was quick to address the prospect of a media onslaught on the squad.

Rice leaps to Mainoo’s defence

He’ll be well aware that the press can change their tune in an instant regarding any player after an off-match, and that’s presumably why the Arsenal star was quick to rally behind his teenage counterpart.

“Yeah, look we done it in March [won together], and it was really positive,” Rice began, as cited by the Metro. “I can imagine tonight because we lost [that] some people are saying stuff, but that’s football these days.

“Kobbie’s young, I’m young, our midfield options are young. Look, we’re going to learn every game, and that’s the beauty of football.”

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