Paul Ince urges Erik ten Hag to manage young midfielder’s development carefully
Paul Ince has called on Erik ten Hag to be careful with Kobbie Mainoo’s development.
It has been a difficult season for Manchester United but there’s no denying that Kobbie Mainoo’s breakthrough in the first team has been one of the silver linings.
The 18-year-old has started United’s last four Premier League matches, establishing himself as a key player in his breakthrough season with Casemiro missing a chunk of the campaign due to injury.
However, former United midfielder Paul Ince has called on Erik ten Hag to manage Mainoo more carefully because the unforgiving microscope that comes with playing for the biggest club in England has it’s added pressures.
Ince thinks the Dutchman should step off the accelerator and occasionally take the youngster out of the team to management his development. It’s a difficult ask when Casemiro has yet to return – but we could be reaching that point very soon… maybe this weekend!
“When I look at the midfield, I don’t see a lot of pace,” Ince said, as per The Express.
“When teams attack them, they are so open in the middle of the park and don’t have a natural sitter.
“There’s a lot of technical ability, but I don’t see the pace or the understanding of a defensive midfield player.
“[Ten Hag] has tweaked around it, and Mainoo has come in looking like a really good prospect, but they have to be careful with him. They need to take him in and out.”
Ince added: “He [Mainoo] needs to listen and learn, cling on to the right people. Suddenly, a young kid plays a couple of games, and everyone gets really excited. Next thing, he’s out on the town with his mates. That stuff you can’t do.
“[Assistant coaches] Steve McClaren and Darren Fletcher, they are the ones to keep his feet on the ground and make sure he hangs around with the right people.
“He’s only 18 and we have this habit at the moment of getting overexcited about people right away. Give him time. Let him play, let him enjoy his football and take him in and out.”
Mainoo was handed his first team debut last season by Ten Hag, and it became clear over the summer that Ten Hag would push him into the fold more often. That was until his misfortunate injury against Real Madrid during the pre-season tour.
The FA Youth Cup winner had to wait until October for his injury to fully heel, but he has taken his chances this season and is now flourishing in the team along with fellow academy graduate Alejandro Garnacho.
Both Mainoo and Garnacho are now considered first team regulars.
Let us know if you think Mainoo will start against Spurs on Sunday.
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