Manchester United’s teenage sensation Kobbie Mainoo called up to senior England squad

Manchester United’s sensational 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo has been called up to England’s senior squad for the first time, boosting his chances of selection for Euro 2024.

Mainoo is enjoying a breakout season at Old Trafford, where he has become an integral part of the first team under manager Erik ten Hag. The teenager, who joined United aged nine, was exceptional in Sunday’s dramatic FA Cup quarter-final victory over Liverpool, illustrating his remarkable ability to perform at the highest level at such a young age.

All the other 25 England squad members reported to St George’s Park on Tuesday for the upcoming friendlies with Brazil and Belgium at Wembley – the final fixtures before Gareth Southgate names his provisional squad for Euro 2024 in May – and Mainoo has now joined the group after promotion from the Under-21s.

“I got a text from [assistant manager] Steve Holland telling me to come and meet him at reception,” Mainoo said. “He just told me I’ve been called up and I’m going to be training with the squad for the week. I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet, but I’m excited.”

The fact that no injuries have been reported in the England camp means that Mainoo has not been drafted in as a replacement, and that Southgate may simply have had second thoughts about the midfielder, who was excluded from the original squad announced last week.

Southgate said at the time: “He’s only had a handful of games and you have to be very careful development-wise in making those decisions at the right time. So we think ideally, we should allow him that space to develop at his own speed. He’s not at the point in terms of number of [club] games that Jude [Bellingham] and Bukayo [Saka] were when they came in for the first time.”

Kobbie Mainoo poses for photos at St George’s Park after his late call-up (Getty)
Kobbie Mainoo poses for photos at St George’s Park after his late call-up (Getty)

Central midfield is a position of concern for the England manager, given the questionable form of Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips this season. Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold are both options to play alongside Declan Rice in the centre, but there is a lack of depth in the two deeper-lying roles that Southgate prefers.

In recent weeks there had been a growing clamour for Mainoo to be given a chance at senior international level, having played for England’s youth teams. Following United’s win over Liverpool, the pundit and former England striker Ian Wright said in a video posted on social media: “How’s Kobbie Mainoo not in that squad ... Come on, eh? The man was immense today.”

Mainoo, who was born in Stockport to Ghanaian parents, had been courted by the Ghana Football Association, who recently described the midfielder as an “incredible talent”.

Now, though, he may well make his England debut in one of the two friendly games, and he stands a real chance of earning selection for the Euros in Germany. England play Brazil on Saturday before taking on the Belgians next Tuesday.

Southgate is scheduled to announce a “training squad” on Tuesday 21 May, two days after the Premier League season concludes. England will play warm-up matches against Bosnia and Herzegovina on 3 June and Iceland on 6 June, before the final 23-player squad has to be confirmed by 8 June.

Euro 2024 begins on Friday 14 June when Germany take on Scotland in Munich. England play Serbia in Gelsenkirchen the following night, before games against fellow Group C opponents Denmark and Slovenia.