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Gareth Southgate contemplates fast-tracking Manchester United's Kobbie Mainoo amid Ghana's interest

Posted : 13 February 2024

Gareth Southgate is contemplating expediting the rise of Manchester United's young talent, Kobbie Mainoo, through the England ranks amid heightened interest from Ghana. The 18-year-old midfielder, displaying promise under Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford, has caught Southgate's attention.


While Mainoo has represented England at various youth levels, he remains eligible to switch allegiance to Ghana, where his parents were born. Ghana's football association has expressed interest in convincing Mainoo to represent them internationally. Southgate, recognizing Mainoo's potential, aims to fast-track his progress with England, considering him for the senior squad to be named on March 14.


Despite Mainoo's impressive form for Manchester United, discussions between Southgate and U21s boss Lee Carsley will determine the youngster's involvement. England is confident that Mainoo desires to represent them, but he remains eligible for Ghana until he plays a competitive senior international match.


The fixture list for this year's friendlies complicates the situation, with Euro 2024 being a potential inclusion for Mainoo, though it presents a significant call given his limited first-team appearances. Southgate faces constraints in squad size, with only 23 spots available, limiting room for experimentation and possibly delaying Mainoo's competitive debut until the autumn.


In the midfield positions, Southgate currently favors players like Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Jordan Henderson, Kalvin Phillips, and Conor Gallagher. Trent Alexander-Arnold, listed as a midfielder in England's previous squad, adds to the competition.


Additionally, Southgate is contemplating the recall of goalkeeper Jack Butland, who revived his career at Rangers after a free transfer from Crystal Palace last summer. The goalkeeper's impressive performances in Scotland have caught Southgate's attention, potentially leading to a return to the England squad.


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