Gareth Southgate explains Kobbie Mainoo England U-turn

  • Southgate added Mainoo to his England squad after leaving him out of the original setup
  • England boss had publicly rejected calls to include the Man Utd starlet
  • Mainoo could make his international debut against Brazil on Saturday
Mainoo is in the England squad
Mainoo is in the England squad / James Baylis - AMA/GettyImages

Gareth Southgate has admitted he ultimately decided Kobbie Mainoo was ready for a senior England call-up after adding the Manchester United midfielder to his squad late on.

Southgate publicly rejected calls for Mainoo to be named in his original squad for this month's international break, arguing the 18-year-old did not yet boast the necessary experience in senior football to make that next step.

Just days later, however, Southgate switched his chance by promoting Mainoo from the Under-21 setup, and he was asked to explain his change of heart in Friday's press conference.

"We've been blessed with St George's Park being built. Some of our Under-17s have come over to work with us this week. You get a club feel," Southgate began.

"With Kobbie, I said last week we were conscious about how quickly we should go. You need to make the right steps at the right time with players. For us he was the next player in. We didn't want to stop that from happening.

"He's fitted in brilliantly. His level of training has been excellent - we won't hesitate to put him on the pitch."

Kobbie Mainoo, Cole Palmer
Mainoo has made an impact in training / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Mainoo could now make his England debut on Saturday when the Three Lions take on Brazil at Wembley Stadium.

Another friendly, this time against Belgium, is also on the cards for England on Tuesday, giving Mainoo plenty of time to earn his first cap for his country.

After learning of his call-up, Mainoo admitted he is aiming to convince Southgate to give him the nod for this summer's European Championships - a "dream" which could easily be realised if the 18-year-old maintains his excellent form at club level.