Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo is being targeted by the Ghana Football Association, who are interested in him switching nationalities after playing for England youth teams.
The 18-year-old, who scored a stunning winner in United’s 4-3 win at Wolves this week, has played for England Under-19s and qualifies for Ghana through his parents. It is understood there have been talks over his international future when he has been at St George’s Park.
“The Ghana Football Association is interested in monitoring, attracting, and persuading all eligible talents for its various national teams,” Randy Abbey, a member of the executive council of Ghana FA, said. “Kobbie is definitely one of such incredible talents, and the Association will love to work with him and many like him home and abroad.”
Ghana have previously persuaded Brighton full-back Tariq Lamptey to switch after playing for England Under-21s and they have targeted Callum Hudson-Odoi and Eddie Nketiah, who both have senior caps under Gareth Southgate. They are looking to rebuild after getting knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations at the group stage at the expense of Egypt and Cape Verde.
Mainoo is the next Premier League player in their sights after his breakthrough season at Old Trafford where he has caught the eye in central midfield even when United have been struggling. “To start playing in the Premier League for my boyhood club has been amazing,” Mainoo said. “Now [I am] just trying to get a good run of games in, win more games and get real momentum going.”
The teenager signed his first pro deal ahead of last season and earned himself a place in first-team training sessions under manager Erik ten Hag, with his debut coming a year ago in an EFL Cup win over Charlton. This season he has made 12 appearances and has scored in his last two games, having found the net against Newport County in the FA Cup before his Molineux winner.
Meanwhile, Ten Hag admitted he wanted a striker in the January window to support Rasmus Hojlund but the club could not spend due to Premier League profit and sustainability rules. Ten Hag said: “I think it is no secret that we wanted a striker. With the injury to Anthony Martial, we really needed a back-up there. But it was not possible and we had to watch the FFP rules.”