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Euro 2024: Mainoo hoping to showcase Eriksen influence against Danes

Teenage midfielder has learned a lot from Denmark veteran during two years together at Old Trafford

Christian Eriksen

Kobbie Mainoo hopes to use the tips he’s learned from Man United teammate Christian Eriksen if he’s given a chance against Denmark.

The 19-year-old came off the bench late-on in England’s Group C opener, Sunday’s 1-0 win over Serbia, and insists he’s ready to play against the Danes in Frankfurt on Thursday (5pm BST).

The midfielder made 24 of his 25 Premier League appearances for United last season and began the youngest FA Cup Final goalscorer in 60 years as his side beat rivals Man City at Wembley last month.

Many of those appearances have come alongside Eriksen, who moved to Old Trafford in 2022, the same time Mainoo broke into the first team picture under Erik ten Hag.

Speaking at England pre-match press conference, Mainoo said he was looking forward to coming up against Eriksen and their Man United teammate Rasmus Hojland.

“They’re both great team-mates to me,” he said. “Rasmus is young like me so I am always around him. I am trying to learn and pick up from Christian.

“If I’m to play on Thursday I’ll have to put that to the side compete against him and hopefully get the win.”

Mainoo won his fourth cap as an 85th-minute substitute and already has his sights on number five.

“I’m ready to play, whether that’s off the bench or starting,” he said. “Obviously, there’s other great midfielders in the squad. I’m trying to train hard and be ready when I’m called upon.

“(Declan Rice) is such a good player, reliable and dominant in the midfield so when I get to play with him it’s always a joy to have someone so strong with the ball next to you.”

“(Playing alongside him) frees me up a lot and allows me to go forward and attack and trust that he’s there. It’s a dream.”

It’s not just Rice and veterans like Eriksen that are influencing Mainoo, the teenager revealed 20-year-old Jude Bellingham sets the standards in the England camp.

“Everyone knows how great of a player he is. We see it everyday in training here. He’s such a nice guy as well. He’s demanding. He has high standards that he sets. To play with him is great. it’s rightly so he’s a contender for the Ballon d’Or,” he said.

Mainoo also praised his Old Trafford boss ten Hag who has helped him land two bits of silverware in his first two seasons at the club, with the 2023 EFL Cup preceding the FA Cup last season.

The Dutchman will remain at the helm next season after a summer of speculation and Mainoo added: “I am happy to be building with him, I’ve got two trophies hopefully there’s more to come. There’s peace of mind to know what manager we have when we return.

“I’m so grateful for him, he put so much trust in me to play in the team. I can’t thank him enough.”

Stockport-born Mainoo also admitted he had considered playing for Ghana, the country of his parents’ birth, before being handed his first England call-up by Gareth Southgate for the friendly with Brazil in March.

“I’m proud of my Ghanaian heritage,” he said, “but it has always been a dream to play for England. I’m happy to be here. I considered it, but I want to play for England.”

Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.

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