Euro 2024: England rookie Mainoo ‘best midfielder’ – Scholes

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Former England international Paul Scholes has said one of his successors in Manchester United’s midfield, Kobbie Mainoo, should be used to solve the Three Lions’ tactical quandary at Uefa Euro 2024.

England head coach Gareth Southgate has used Trent Alexander-Arnold – who has spent most of his career as a defender – in central midfield to unconvincing effect in his side’s first two matches at the finals, substituting the Liverpool wideman in both games.

“To have a right-back playing in there in your position when you’ve gone as a central midfielder won’t be nice,” Scholes said of Mainoo, speaking to TNT Sports.

“It will be difficult to take. I’d like to see Mainoo come into the midfield. He is, along with Declan Rice, probably England’s best midfielder.”

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England Euro squad: Mainoo ‘quality’

“He’ll bring quality into that midfield area that we’ve really lacked,” said Scholes. “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.”

Analysing a 1-1 draw against Denmark on Thursday which led to scrutiny over his tactics, Southgate said England were struggling to replace defensive midfielder Kalvin Phillips, who has not been involved following a loss of form last season.

 

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Mainoo ‘in England team for 10 years’

Mainoo, who made his full England debut in March during an impressive breakthrough season at United, was given an eight-minute substitute appearance in their opening 1-0 win over Serbia.

Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher is expected to be preferred to the 19-year-old, Alexander-Arnold and England’s other options for their closing group-stage match against Slovenia on Tuesday, but Scholes belies Mainoo is a long-term starting certainty.

“I see Kobbie Mainoo in this England squad, in this England team for the next 10 years at least,” he added.

England have already qualified for the last 16 but must beat Slovenia to guarantee winning their group.

Their draw against Denmark means they have won two of their last seven games, conceding at least once in five of those matches.

Ben Miller
Ben Miller
Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.

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