Erik ten Hag sends message to Kobbie Mainoo over England spot

  • Kobbie Mainoo tipped to receive England call-up following fine breakout season
  • Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag has challenged midfielder to continue run of form
  • Mainoo is also eligible to represent Ghana
Mainoo is having a fine season
Mainoo is having a fine season / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has challenged Kobbie Mainoo to continue his rapid development in order to nail down a place in the England squad.

Mainoo has been United's breakout star of a rather indifferent 2023/24 season so far, making 17 appearances for the senior side and establishing himself as almost undroppable in the heart of midfield.

Though still only 18, Mainoo has been tipped to earn a maiden call-up to Gareth Southgate's England squad for the March internationals and Euro 2024.

Ahead of Sunday's trip to rivals Manchester City, Ten Hag was asked by BBC Sport whether Mainoo was deserving of a place in the Three Lions setup.

"It's not up to me. The England manager, Gareth Southgate, knows very well what he wants and it’s up to him," Ten Hag replied.

"All the things that I can see, and what I saw, is that high potential. Every time, he's going to high levels. Every training, every game, he's playing at higher levels. So he has a high potential but it's up to him to keep the process going and I have to manage this."

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Mainoo is also eligible to play for Ghana, and the Ghanaian FA have made no secret of their desire to try and recruit him before England do.

"The Ghana Football Association is interested in monitoring, attracting, and persuading all eligible talents for its various national teams," Randy Abbey, a member of the executive council at the Ghana FA, said last month.

"Kobbie is definitely one of these incredible talents, and the association would love to work with him and many like him at home and abroad."