Manchester United academy graduate Kobbie Mainoo has reacted to making his senior debut for the club this evening.
The 17-year-old was named in the starting lineup to face Charlton Athletic in United’s quarter-final Carabao Cup tie.
Mainoo had impressed Erik ten Hag with his progress in the youth setup and was rightfully rewarded with his name on the team sheet in a must-win clash at Old Trafford.
The Stockport-born midfielder played during United’s winter friendlies in Spain during the international break and scored against Cadiz.
He is the second academy player to make their debut under the Dutchman; Charlie McNeill was the first when he featured as a substitute in the Reds’ Europa League tie with Real Sociedad earlier in the season.
The manager is keen on instilling his philosophy from Ajax at Carrington, so much so, that he has taken charge of United’s reserves team to track the progression of the youngsters and monitor their development.
Mainoo reacts to United debut
Post-match, Mainoo spoke to MUTV and reflected on his first senior outing in red. He said: “It’s an unbelievable feeling, I’ve been at this club all my life and it’s all been building to tonight. To have my family here watching me, surrounding me, it’s just amazing.”
When asked when he found out he was starting, Mainoo responded: “Today. Part of the team sheet and I was starting so… bit shocked but I thought ‘gotta do my job’.”
He added: “Of course a few butterflies but more just exciting. I played at Old Trafford in the [FA] Youth Cup and I remember that feeling was an amazing feeling. To have that again, it’s always brilliant.”
The teenager was replaced by five-time Champions League winner Casemiro when he exited the pitch and spoke of his respect for the Brazilian: “To be able to follow him closely and watch him in training and stuff, it’s an honour. For him to come on for me tonight… it’s crazy.”
“To stay around it and keep getting more games is the ultimate goal. I want to stay at this club, I’ve been here for my whole life, so that’s the ultimate goal.”