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Football | Tuesday, February 13, 2024 2:55 PM

Mikael Silvestre warns Erik ten Hag that de Jong signing could block Mainoo’s development

Mikael Silvestre warns Erik ten Hag that de Jong signing could block Mainoo’s development
IMAGO / PA Images - Scott McTominay celebrates scoring their side s second goal of the game during the Premier League match at Villa Park.

Here at bettingexpert, Devang Prasad sat down with former Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre to discuss the state of the current Manchester United midfield. Scott McTominay was Erik ten Hag’s saviour once again in the Premier League, whilst Kobbie Mainoo continues to impress at the heart of the United midfield. Meanwhile, Frenkie De Jong continues to be linked with a move to Manchester United for a potential third summer consecutively. Silvestre shared his thoughts on the outlook of United’s side.

In this article:

Should McTominay be a regular United starter?

Scott McTominay made his debut for Manchester United in the middle of 2017 and, over the course of 144 games, has scored 12 league goals. However, this season, he has found the net seven times in 21 appearances, including winning goals against Brentford, Chelsea, and Aston Villa. Despite being close to leaving during the summer transfer window, McTominay has emerged as a valuable asset for Ten Hag’s team. Is McTominay a natural striker? Should he feature more prominently in Ten Hag’s plans? And, how does the Scotsman integrate into a team that currently relies on a core consisting of Casemiro, Mainoo, and Bruno Fernandes?

“McTominay has a lot of qualities but in his position which is normally as a number six or an eight there are better players than him so he just needs to work hard and try to get into the starting 11 when possible.”

“At the moment I don’t see him starting before Casemiro and Mainoo in midfield. His strengths are running beyond the striker and scoring goals. He seems to have an eye for the goal and knows where to position himself.”

“He’s strong, powerful and shows determination to attack the ball. He’s a threat in the air.”

Mainoo leading the way for United academy prospects

The performances of academy graduate Kobbie Mainoo have been increasingly notable following his breakthrough season at his boyhood club. At the age of 18, Mainoo has displayed a level of maturity beyond his years at the base of the Manchester United midfield, seemingly forming a promising dynamic with Casemiro. Silvestre has expressed admiration for the youngster’s abilities and hopes to see his development progress rapidly.

“He’s been impressive and hasn’t had a bad game so for a young player it’s impressive.”

“For a young player he’s consistent and he’s vital in midfield as he covers ground and sustains a high energy level.”

“He’s able to press well and his passing ability is getting better and better. You can see his confidence is rising.”

“The goal Vs wolves was a big boost but his general play has been very good. His link up play when building from the back has to be both safe and courageous.”

“He’s doing it so I just hope it continues and he grows as a player and an individual into the team.”

“He’s another academy graduate which shows the way for the next one in line.”

Silvestre urges caution around Mainoo

Following his ascent to prominence, Mainoo is reportedly on the fast track to joining the England Under-21 squad, as decided by Gareth Southgate. Having already earned six caps for the England U19s, Mainoo appears poised for a call-up to Lee Carsley’s side. Nevertheless, Silvestre advises caution regarding the development and the growing hype surrounding Mainoo’s name.

“It’s just the beginning for him so we shouldn’t put too much pressure on him. Or extra expectations.”

“He’s part of a strong squad with a World Cup winner and Champions League winners. There are experienced, established players so he needs to carry on the way he’s been playing and learn from the pros.”

“He’s in a very good dynamic at the moment.”

De Jong arrival encouraged but could block development of Mainoo

Amid a challenging season under Ten Hag, Mainoo has emerged as a beacon of hope. Concurrently, Frenkie de Jong continues to be the subject of transfer rumours, with reports suggesting he could leave Barcelona in the summer, sparking yet another offseason of speculation about the Dutch midfielder. Ten Hag had shown keen interest in de Jong during his first summer at Manchester United, but de Jong was committed to staying at Barcelona. Silvestre, while still hopeful about seeing de Jong at Manchester United, expresses concerns about how de Jong’s arrival might impact Mainoo’s development.

“If a player like Frenkie de Jong is available, he should be considered. But again you look at Kobbie and we talked about Scott, and we have Casemiro here.”

“Will de Jong be an upgrade? Of course. Ahead of Kobbie but if you want to continue developing Mainoo and give him the time, I don’t think de Jong should come in.”

“If you qualify for the Champions League, then signing de Jong makes sense. You have to consider him for sure. He’s a top player but putting him in a midfield where the manager likes to play with two defensive midfielders, if you play with three, it could be a different proposition.”

“So the answer is yes, do consider him.”


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