Kobbie Mainoo: Ghana move to lure ‘generational talent’ from England’s grasp

Kobbie Mainoo of Manchester United celebrates with Amad Diallo, Rasmus Hoejlund, Marcus Rashford and Diogo Dalot at full time during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kobbie Mainoo will be courted by the Ghana Football Association after emerging as a bright talent in his debut Manchester United season.

Mainoo, 18, joined United aged nine and signed his first professional contract in May 2022. He made his senior debut last January in the League Cup against Charlton Athletic, and has bagged two goals from 12 games this season.

A dying-seconds winner against Wolverhampton Wanderers shot his name into the public spotlight, and now rumours are building about his international future.

Born in Stockport, the teenager has represented England at three youth levels – Under-17 to Under-19 – but his parents are of Ghanaian heritage.

Speaking to The Times, a member of the executive council of the Ghana FA, Randy Abbey, said: "The Ghana Football Association is interested in monitoring, attracting, and persuading all eligible talents for its various national teams.

"Kobbie is definitely one of these incredible talents, and the association would love to work with him and many like him at home and abroad."

England manager Gareth Southgate looks on during the Three Lions' game against Scotland in September 2023.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The teenager has already been linked with a shock call-up to Gareth Southgate’s senior squad ahead of the 2024 European Championships, and has to feature in a competitive match to have his future tied down. 

Southgate has named a roster of fresh young players over the past year and thus secured their services, but is unlikely to make special exceptions for a player whose allegiance is split.

Earlier in the week Red Devils teammate Rasmus Hojlund called Mainoo a ‘generational talent’, saying: “You can see his composure, he is so relaxed on the ball. So much quality on the ball. Now he's also starting to show that he has the scoring parts of his game as well. He's a complete player.

"It's not about taking the responsibility, he's so relaxed, so calm, he knows his quality and he knows when he goes out there he's going to perform. Everybody knows that from the team and you guys [the public and press] can see it as well now. He's a top player." 

Ghana suffered from a disappointing performance at the Africa Cup of Nations, falling out at the group stages with just two points. Mainoo reportedly holidays there regularly, and will undoubtedly be pursued hard by a nation reeling from international embarrassment.

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