KOBBIE MAINOO has already been given his Manchester United debut and he could soon be in line for a first Premier League appearance.
The youngster has been named amongst the substitutes on several occasions in the league and he played for the first time in United's Carabao Cup win over Charlton.
Mainoo then came off the bench in last month's 3-1 FA Cup win over Reading.
And behind the scenes at Carrington there is growing belief the talented 17-year-old could be the heartbeat of the club's midfield for years to come.
The Stockport-born youngster was a key member of last season's successful FA Youth Cup-winning side, and was rewarded with his first professional contract in May 2022.
This season he has continued to progress for the Red Devils Under-18's and Under-21's, following that up with a 60 minute senior cameo against Charlton and a further 17 minutes against Reading.
Erik ten Hag has been impressed and is now beginning to integrate the teenager into first-team more often.
Mainoo was part of the squad that went to Spain for a warm-weather training camp and friendlies matches during the World Cup break.
Been with the club since nine
Mainoo began his football at grassroots level with Cheadle & Gatley junior football club.
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He was scouted by United aged nine and he worked his way through the youth ranks to establish himself as one of United's biggest prospects.
In pre-season, United fans caught a glimpse of the playmaker in action against Altrincham.
BBC Manchester commentator Jonny Crowther called him "different class".
Earlier this season, Mainoo scored twice in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Brighton for the Under-21 team.
While back in August, he had fans purring during a mercurial display against Carlisle in the EFL Trophy.
His vision, anticipation and tackling ability certainly caught the eye.
One fan wrote: "I can watch 17-year-old Kobbie Mainoo's compilations all day. Man Utd have a player on their hands," while another said: "Investing in Kobbie Mainoo stocks now."
A third said: "I watched Kobbie Mainoo vs Carlisle United yesterday. Ten Hag has to include him in the first-team. This is not a joke.
"He’s a baller. All he needs is the physical strength and forget Frenkie De Jong. He can do the job simple."
Ten Hag has listened
The excitement around Mainoo has seen Ten Hag, known for giving youth a chance at Ajax, take a closer look at the player himself.
He is now a regular fixture in first-team training sessions.
The teenager was first named in a matchday squad for the 0-0 draw against Newcastle back in October.
And Ten Hag explained Mainoo, who has been capped by England's Under-18 team, wasn't there to just make up the numbers.
The Dutch boss told the club's official website: "It's not experience, they [young players] have to deliver.
"You are here to contribute to the team, to the team's success, and that is why he is here."
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With Casemiro unavailable for United's defeat at league leaders Arsenal, Kobbie Mainoo was also named on the bench for the huge Emirates game last month.
And it's surely just a matter of time before he finally gets his first taste of Premier League action for the Red Devils.
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