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Man United teenage midfielder Kobbie Mainoo gets first call up from England

LONDON (AP) — Manchester United teenager Kobbie Mainoo’s swift rise to prominence could yet see the midfielder play for England in high-profile friendlies against Brazil and Belgium in the coming days.

The 18-year-old Mainoo received his first call-up by England on Tuesday, his latest step in a breakthrough season that could yet end with a place in his country’s squad for the European Championship in Germany across June and July.

Mainoo had been selected for England’s Under-21s but was added to Gareth Southgate’s senior group ahead of games against Brazil on Saturday and Belgium on Tuesday, both at Wembley Stadium.

Mainoo, who previously represented England Under-17s and Under-19s, has played with maturity and composure in racking up 20 appearances so far for United this season.

The midfielder joined United at age nine and made his debut in early 2023 in a League Cup game against Charlton.

Mainoo is also eligible for Ghana and its football association has previously expressed interest in calling him up.

England’s stock of high-quality central midfielders is currently low, with Kalvin Phillips — a long-time favorite of Southgate’s — dropped for the latest squad and Jordan Henderson a fading force. Declan Rice looks to be a certainty for England in that position but Mainoo could yet force his way into the team alongside him, and behind attacking midfielder Jude Bellingham, for Euro 2024.

Southgate announced his squad for the friendlies last week and all the players called up by the coach reported to the training camp on Tuesday.

Among them was Brentford striker Ivan Toney, who was recalled after serving an eight-month ban for breaching betting rules.

Also receiving their first summons were Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite and Newcastle forward Anthony Gordon.

Liverpool defender Joe Gomez was called up for the first time since 2020 but there was no place for Phillips, who has endured a difficult start to his loan spell with West Ham from Manchester City.


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