Kobbie Mainoo's Manchester United rise is no shock to me - I saw his potential a long time ago

Kobbie Mainoo of Manchester United
Kobbie Mainoo of Manchester United -Credit:2024 Manchester United FC

A former PE teacher of Kobbie Mainoo's has admitted he knew the Manchester United midfielder was set for a bright future in football after watching him in action on the playground.

Mainoo attended Cheadle Catholic Junior School as a youngster, where he balanced his football alongside his studies. First playing for Cheadle & Gatley Junior Football Club, he was picked up by United at the age of nine.

It has been a season to remember for the 19-year-old, who has enjoyed a first-team breakthrough with the Red Devils while also being called up to represent the England senior team.

This week returning to the school he developed his game, Mainoo spoke with the youth of today who are hoping to follow a similar path to him. Making an appearance during this visit was Chris Pheiffer, who gained a glimpse of the teenager during his early years, and told Sky Sports: "He has not changed. That smile from here to here, unbelievable. He is a proper cheeky little soul around the playground and in and out of class. To see him take that onto the football pitch, is brilliant.

"His first touch, even in year three, playing football with his head up. It doesn't usually happen at that age. You could tell straight away, year three, this kid is going to make it."

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Plenty of praise has come the way of Mainoo during the current campaign, with positive comments being made by fellow teammates and manager Erik ten Hag. His performances have resulted in him being nominated for the Premier League Young Player of the Season award, up against Phil Foden, Erling Haaland, Alexander Isak, Destiny Udogie, Cole Palmer, William Saliba and Bukayo Saka.

Asked about dealing with the pressure that has come with becoming the talk of the town, United's No.37 replied: "I try not to listen to it, to be honest. Opinions change very fast. At such a big club like United, there is always pressure and hype when young players come around. I'm just trying to keep my head down and keep on working."