Euro 2024: Kobbie Mainoo can change England’s fortunes

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Kobbie Mainoo

Former England midfielder Paul Scholes is backing Kobbie Mainoo to be the man to change the fortunes of Gareth Southgate’s side at Euro 2024.
Despite having four points from their first two matches, The Three Lions have received criticism for their performances.
England started their campaign with a 1-0 win against Serbia before a dire 1-1 draw with Denmark left fans feeling uninspired both in Germany and at home.

They face Slovenia in their final group game and after calling Trent Alexander-Arnold’s role in midfield an “experiment”, Southgate is expected to make a change in that position.
Speaking to TNT Sports, Scholes said the young Manchester United star is the man for the job.
“Obviously, I said I’d like to see Mainoo come into the midfield,” Scholes said. “I think he is, along with Declan Rice, probably England’s best midfielder.
“To have a right back [Alexander-Arnold] playing in there in your position and you’ve gone as a central midfielder, that won’t be nice. It will be difficult to take.
“I see Kobbie Mainoo in this England squad, in this England team for the next 10 years at least.
“He’ll bring quality into that midfield area that we’ve really lacked. He knows the position, he’s played the position. He’ll help Declan Rice. He’ll help Jude Bellingham and he could possibly knit the whole thing together.”
Mainoo enjoyed a breakthrough season in an under-performing Manchester United squad and scored the decisive goal in their shock FA Cup final win against Manchester City.
Scholes thinks Mainoo’s inclusion will also help give Phil Foden the freedom to make an impact after his uncharacteristically lethargic performances so far.
“Phil Foden can pop up anywhere he wants on a football pitch and he’ll be a threat,” Scholes said. “Now, if Kobbie Mainoo came in, all of a sudden you have control. You have a player who makes your team play football. Sometimes it takes just one player to be able do that.
“You think of Toni Kroos with Germany, he just makes them play football. He makes Real Madrid play football. I think Rodri at Manchester City and Spain – he makes your team play football and I think Kobbie Mainoo has got that, the ability to do that.
“That, all of a sudden, it frees up the likes of Jude Bellingham, who’s not worried about having to come back all the time and try and help with the build-up because he’s brilliant going forward. Phil Foden exactly the same. I just think that one change could make a helluva difference to this team.”
Despite Scholes wanting Mainoo to replace Alexander-Arnold, the Liverpool man would not be ejected from the starting XI, if it was up to the former Manchester United midfielder.
“He’s not a midfield player,” Scholes said of Alexander-Arnold. “It was quite obvious before he went he’s not going to be a midfield player.
“I think, in a full-back role, at right-back, you get more time on the ball – there’s nobody around you, you don’t have to be aware of what’s around you, who’s going to tackle you. How much time have I got on the ball?”
With Alexander-Arnold unlikely to dislodge Kyle Walker at right-back, Scholes would push him to left-back, at the expense of Kieran Trippier.
“Trippier tries his best in that position, of course, but I just don’t see what he brings,” Scholes said.
“I saw it for years with Denis Irwin. Brilliant quality as a right-footed left-back. If we’re going to do that, it has to be someone who’s going to give you something on the ball and I think Trent is capable of doing that.”
Although Scholes does not think Southgate will make drastic changes for their next match, he hopes there will be one big addition.
He said: “I wouldn’t be that bothered as long as Mainoo’s the one that comes into midfield. I think he can change the whole outlook and perception of this team. I think he can be that good and devastating for him.”

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