Ex-United man says Kobbie Mainoo isn’t ready to start at Euros despite starting and scoring in FA Cup final

Gareth Southgate’s England squad are undergoing their final preparations in Germany ahead of their group-stage opener against Serbia on Sunday.

The Three Lions will also lock horns with Denmark and Slovenia in Group C as they look to go one step further than 2021’s final heartache and make amends by lifting the trophy this time around.

England are among the major favourites to reign victorious next month due to the scintillating talent Southgate has at his disposal. The likes of Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden have all been in prolific form for their respective clubs across 2023/2024, so will be hoping they can replicate such performances on the international stage.

Meanwhile, Manchester United fans will be keeping a close eye on how their starlet, Kobbie Mainoo, fares at his first major tournament. The 19-year-old has earned three caps since making his senior debut in March, two of which were as a starter.

It’s no surprise either, given the integral role he played for Erik ten Hag last season. Mainoo signed off from United action by being named the Player of the Match in the FA Cup final last month, during which he scored the second goal of the game and proceeded to lift the trophy at Wembley after directly impacting the triumphant result.

Read more: Erik ten Hag now wants contract extension for key man who’s popular among squad and fans

Ince hasn’t a clue

That’s seemingly not enough for him to be granted a starting role at the Euros, though, according to Paul Ince. The former player shared his verdict on how England may shape up for their high-stakes fixtures, yet opted to leave Mainoo out.

“I think Kobbie Mainoo has done really well this season in a struggling Manchester United team. It’s all happened so quickly, and I think he has an experienced head for such a young player,” he told Press Box PR, as cited by Manchester World.

“He doesn’t seem to be phased by anything, so his inclusion in the squad makes sense to me, but when you look at the situation in terms of England’s defensive midfield players, does he start?

“It depends how Gareth Southgate wants to go. Does he want to go with two sitting midfield players and then an eight in front of him? Or could he go with Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice and Phil Foden in front? That looks more of [like] an answer to me.”

“Is Mainoo ready now? Of course he’s not. He’s still so young,” Ince controversially declared. “But sometimes you get thrown into the deep end, and you just have to swim. You have to survive, and I think he can survive.

“But listen, we shouldn’t put too much pressure on him because he’s only young – he’s going to make mistakes. The Iceland game wasn’t great, he made mistakes, so when it comes to starting him I think it’s a difficult one.”

It won’t surprise you to learn that Ince’s managerial career has been nothing short of dismal, and he was most recently sacked by Reading last year. Probably for the best he sticks to punditry.

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