Kobbie Mainoo addresses Rooney’s suggestion for England starting lineup

Kobbie Mainoo addresses Rooney’s suggestion for England starting lineup

Kobbie Mainoo has downplayed Wayne Rooney’s suggestion that he should be played ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold for England.

The Manchester United prodigy was one of the Premier League’s breakthrough stars of the season and was established as a permanent asset in his team’s ranks during the second half of the season.

His stellar performances earned him a first England call-up and a later place in Gareth Southgate’s final 26-man squad at Euro 2024.

The 19-year-old made a brief cameo appearance in Saturday’s opening tournament win for the Three Lions to mark his first major tournament bow with England, but some critics have called for him to start Thursday’s game against Denmark.

Alexander-Arnold is trying to complete his development from full-back to midfielder with his range of passing and title-winning experience making him a popular candidate alongside Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham in England’s engineroom.

Kobbie Mainoo (pictured) has downplayed Wayne Rooney’s suggestion that he should be played ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold for England.

Mainoo was used off the bench in England's Euro 2024 clash against Serbia

Alexander-Arnold was favoured in midfield for England's opening Euro 2024 game

Mainoo (left) was used off the bench in England’s Euro 2024 clash against Serbia as Alexander-Arnold (right) was preferred to start

However, his lack of competitive experience in the position has caused some reason for concern after a mixed performance against Serbia.

Mainoo sat down with reporters on Tuesday for a pre-match interview ahead of England’s next game when he was asked if he thinks he should be starting at the tournament in Germany.

Club legend Rooney had previously stressed he would pick Mainoo as a starter in midfield, but Mainoo cooled such talk stating: ‘I’m ready to play, whether that’s off the bench or starting.

‘Obviously, there’s other great midfielders in the squad in the Premier League or abroad like Jude [Bellingham]. I’m trying to train hard and be ready when I’m called upon.’

Mainoo’s maturity both on and off the pitch has seen him become a much-loved figure at Old Trafford and will be hoping for a dream end to his first season in senior football by helping England win the European Championship.

Mainoo could make his debut start at a major competition with England against Denmark on Thursday

Mainoo could make his debut start at a major competition with England against Denmark on Thursday

Man United legend Rooney wants Mainoo to start ahead of Alexander-Arnold in England's midfield

Man United legend Rooney wants Mainoo to start ahead of Alexander-Arnold in England’s midfield

Rooney – who was recently appointed Plymouth Argyle manager – recently raved over Mainoo’s star quality on the Overlap: ‘I have watched Trent play in midfield a few times and I think you lose a lot of his qualities. 

‘His delivery is obviously incredible and of course he can pick passes from midfield, but I think he has to fight it out [with Walker for the right-back spot],’ Rooney said on The Overlap.

‘I know Kyle is the best right-back in the world at the minute but I think midfield is such an important position. I would play Mainoo before Trent in midfield, 100%.

‘It’s not that Trent can’t play there, we saw him do it recently against Everton and some of the passes he was hitting were unbelievable. It’s probably only Becks [ David Beckham ] who beats him in that area,’ he said.

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