Kobbie Mainoo: the Manchester maestro
The definitive SCOUTED50 profile.
SCOUTED50 is our collection of the fifty young talents we believe are best positioned to break into the mainstream during 2023/24. Throughout the season, we’ll be detailing all fifty in definitive profiles.
The full list can be read here. Next under the microscope is Manchester United’s Kobbie Mainoo.
This profile was produced as part of a commercial collaboration with SkillCorner, SCOUTED’s official data partner. SkillCorner’s tracking and performance data is used by more than 150 of the world’s biggest clubs, leagues and confederations. Learn more.
All stats correct as of 13/02/2024 unless otherwise noted.
It’s crazy to imagine Manchester United being reliant on an 18-year-old. But since the 2023/24 pre-season began, such a bizarre situation seemed destined.
That summer, teenager Kobbie Mainoo did special things. And he did them with a technical aptitude that United’s midfield has been missing for a long time.
It was a timely arrival from a player that has followed the model development path for a youngster working through a big-club academy. After time in the U18 Premier League and FA Youth Cup, then the UEFA Youth League, EFL Trophy and PL2, then into a taste of senior football late last season, Mainoo arrived at pre-season ready to put on a show.
Now, pre-season isn't everything. As a Juventus fan who’s been on Twitter for a while, I remember being seduced into thinking Alberto Masi was going to become the second coming of Fabio Cannavaro after he started a 2013 friendly against Milan. This was his career path after that:
But with Mainoo it was hard to have doubts. When a player possesses his technical proficiency in pockets, you stand up and take notice. Then you hope such talent can withstand the extra heat and physical intensity of competitive games, especially at Mainoo’s age and size.
At this point, I think we can safely say our fears have been eased. Mainoo’s rise to prominence at United has only been hindered by an early-season injury. Since his return his importance has grown, culminating a couple of weeks ago with a stunning goal to claim all three points against Wolves at Molineux.
The sense now is that he is indispensable to the balance of the Manchester United midfield, granting the side what our friend Kees van Hemmen described as ‘technical consistency’. It’s the perfect description for a young man who looks so comfortable, so assured, and so secure - despite playing under one of the brightest spotlights on the planet.