Kobbie Mainoo’s breakthrough has been one of Manchester United’s bright spots in a difficult season. His lack of midfield assistance for his attack-oriented teammates has just added to his already remarkable impression. Against Tottenham Hotspur, that cost United, as they were overwhelmed.
In the past eighteen months, though, Mainoo has been fortunate enough to spend hours on the training pitch with one of the most accomplished midfielders in football history.
The 18-year-old sensation’s transition to a permanent spot in Erik ten Hag’s spacious midfield would have surely been aided by Casemiro.
And soon, the two will probably play together for the first time this year in a pairing that might spark United’s campaign again.
Prior to sustaining an injury during the 3-0 home loss to Newcastle United on November 1, Casemiro was still a constant in Ten Hag’s squad at the beginning of the season.
It was predicted that Mainoo would be a key player this season when he recovered later that month from an injury of his own, sustained against Real Madrid during the preseason.
Although Mainoo and Casemiro nearly ran into each other when leaving the hospital room, they will eventually meet paths on the pitch.
The 31-year-old midfielder was one of the substitutes used in Sunday’s 2-2 tie at Old Trafford between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur; however, Scott McTominay started the second half ahead of him off the bench.
But Casemiro will almost definitely play again in United’s next match, as Ten Hag is expected to travel down south with a robust squad for an FA Cup fourth-round match.
Either National League Eastleigh or League Two Newport County will play United in a tantalizing match that epitomizes the FA Cup.
It wouldn’t be shocking to see Ten Hag name a team that is similar to his first option considering that the Spurs game was two weeks ago.
That theory is strengthened by the fact that it’s the only piece of cutlery he can actually lift this term. Furthermore, Casemiro and Mainoo must start behind Bruno Fernandes in his first-choice midfield.
Casemiro staying at Old Trafford past the summer would be surprising. All indications lead to a move to Saudi Arabia, which would enable United to partially recover his £70 million transfer fee in 2022.
While Ten Hag still has the five-time Champions League champion at his disposal, he needs to extract as much knowledge and expertise as possible and give it to Mainoo.
Instead of playing as the holding midfielder, Casemiro’s presence would allow the United No. 37 to express himself in his natural box-to-box role. That might then elevate him even further.