Erik ten Hag explains why he didn’t pick Kobbie Mainoo for Bayern Munich showdown
Posted by  badge Boss on Dec 13, 2023 - 05:47AM
Mainoo named among the subs against Bayern (Picture: Getty)

explained he opted for the experience of over for ’s crunch Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.

18-year-old sensation Mainoo was handed his first senior start for the club against Everton at the end of November,

The teenager started again the following week against Newcastle United and was called from the bench in the 3-3 draw with Galatasaray but has not featured since, remaining among the subs in league games against Chelsea and Bournemouth last week.

Amrabat has struggled since arriving on loan from Fiorentina but turned in perhaps his best display of the season in the win over the Blues last week.

The Morocco international kept his place in the side for, along with Scott McTominay with ten Hag making two changes to the side that lost to the Cherries.

Asked by Paul Scholes why he didn’t pick Mainoo, the United boss told TNT Sports: ‘I think the last game we played with Sofyan there… what I said about Raphael Varane also counts for Sofyan.

‘He is defensively very strong, he is very good in interceptions and in duels and I think you need that. But you need football as well and as you have seen with Kobbie against Everton, under big pressure, he was tremendous.

Amrabat starts ahead of the teenager (Picture: Getty)

‘In and out of possession, he needs the experience but also he is that mature already and can do the job so I have a lot of trust in him that he can do it otherwise I wouldn’t have played him against Everton cos it was a difficult game for us.’

Varane is also back in the side for just his second start in 13 games with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford left out of the squad after missing training through illness on Monday.

‘You see the squad, we need strong defending today,’ ten Hag said of the World Cup winner.

‘He is very experienced, together with Harry Maguire. He is a very good defender.’

On Rashford and Martial’s absence, he added: ‘In this game you need a top squad and also it limits your opportunities from the bench with those players not available.

‘Either they were in or were on the bench. Especially against Bayern, you have to give a lot of effort so you always need the subs and they have to do it.’

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