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Man United starlet hands selection headache to England manager

Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo came off the bench in England’s two European Championship group-stage matches against Serbia and Slovenia to give them more control.

The 19-year-old proved his mettle and cemented his place in the starting line-up with a sensational display against Slovakia as England stuttered into the quarter-final.

He became the third youngest player to start for England in a knockout round game at a major tournament but looked years above his age.

Mainoo completed 65 of 68 passes in 84 minutes. He misplaced just one pass when he replaced Conor Gallagher in the Slovenia game and completed all of his passes against Serbia.

The Stockport-born star has completed 100/104 passes at Euro 2024 (96.2% accuracy), the best pass completion rate for any midfielder at the tournament.

England manager Gareth Southgate has experimented with Gallagher and Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield, but they failed to deliver the goods.

Mainoo should be undroppable for Southgate heading into the deeper rounds of the tournament.

Gallagher is an energetic option off the bench, and Alexander-Arnold is a right-back. The Man United star should be the established partner for Declan Rice in England’s midfield.

Mainoo was excellent against Slovakia, winning four out of six duels while completing 100% of his dribbles. He also provided one key pass and completed one long ball out of the two he attempted.

The Man United academy graduate has continued to build on an excellent campaign for the Red Devils in which he became a pivotal part of manager Erik ten Hag’s squad.

Mainoo will hope Southgate keeps faith in him as England clash with Switzerland on Saturday.

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