Gary Neville is convinced that Pep Guardiola would want a Manchester United midfielder who excelled in the 3-0 drubbing of Everton in his Manchester City side.
Kobbie Mainoo was handed his first-ever Premier League start at the weekend as Erik ten Hag’s men produced one of their best performances of the season to win at a hostile Goodison Park.
The 18-year-old delivered an outstanding performance at the heart of United’s midfield, with Bruno Fernandes hailing him as the team’s Man of the Match after the game.
And Neville was also encouraged by Mainoo’s display and feels the midfield talent would not look out of place in City’s side under Guardiola, who has even been tipped to try and sign the starlet.
“It was impressive and there’s no point getting carried away by it because the reality is he’s got 17 or 18 years in front of him and he’s got a lot of work to do,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“But sometimes when you see a player come in for the first time and the way in which the temperament, he’s obviously got technical ability and skill, you don’t play for Manchester United in the first place if you haven’t got that, you don’t get picked by Erik ten Hag if you haven’t got that, but what you don’t know is how they’re going to handle it.
“He’s gone in here at Goodison Park, in what could have been the most ferocious atmospheres for many a year in a hostile environment, and he looked class. We know he’s class, we know he’s got class, he’s got that ability, but he looked class in that environment.”
Mainoo shows his quality when United need him most
Neville also feels that Mainoo stood up for United when they needed him most in the run-up to half-time on Merseyside, with could spell bad news for the likes of Casemiro and loan signing Sofyan Amrabat going forward.
The Red Devils legend added: “I always judge players when it’s the most difficult part of the game. When Manchester United had their most difficult period in that first half just before half time for 20 minutes I thought he was the only player who showed up, the only player who still looked like himself.
“The biggest compliment I can pay him, and it hurts to say this, I hope people can take this in the right spirit… he looked like a Manchester City player.
Danny Murphy very good MOTD analysis here on 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo
— Daniel Hussey (@DanielHussey2) November 27, 2023
“Honestly, I was watching him and thinking, ‘that’s a player that Pep Guardiola will be looking at and thinking, I want him in my midfield, that’s what my midfield players do’.
“Thankfully Man United have got him because he looks so composed, so graceful, always looking over his shoulder, knowing where everyone is, letting it run across his body.
“At 18 to be doing that out there, he’ll have tougher games, he’s got a long challenge in front of him, there’ll be injuries, ups and downs, there will be other players coming in, he’s playing at a club with huge demands. But that was very, very good.”
United are back in action on Wednesday evening when they head to Turkey to take on Galatasaray in the Champions League.