"Please leave him alone" - Jan Aage Fjortoft defends England star who can be 'massive' in next 15 years from criticism

Jan Aage Fjortoft defends England star who can be
Jan Aage Fjortoft defends England star who can be 'massive' in next 15 years from criticism

Pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft has openly defended England talent Kobbie Mainoo after the 19-year-old Manchester United midfielder was criticized. Mainoo's performance against Iceland in their final friendly ahead of the UEFA Euro 2024 was seen as sub-par, leading to criticisms from different quarters.

The Guardian's football reporter Jacob Steinberg notably questioned Mainoo's positioning in the passage of play that led to Iceland's goal. Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson scored the goal in the 12th minute. The journalist also remarked that the youngster lacked "physicality and nous" before giving him a 4/10 rating.

However, Jan Aage Fjortoft has come to the defense of the teenage midfielder, taking to his X account to post:

"Please leave Kobbie Mainoo alone! He is a work in progress like every other 19-year old! One game not so good we have to accept for any player!!! He will be massive for both England and Manchester United the next 15 years."

Mainoo only just burst onto the scene last season, taking Old Trafford by storm with his performances for Manchester United. With injuries depleting the Red Devils' squad, Mainoo became a mainstay in the midfield under Erik ten Hag. He 33 games across competitions, scoring five goals, and providing an assist.

His prowess and maturity in the midfield for the Red Devils led to his call-up to the England squad for the Euros. He will hope to help the Three Lions win the trophy. He has only just earned three caps so far, but he will be looking to add to that number in the coming years.

Kobbie Mainoo responds to boos as England lose 1-0 to Iceland at Wembley

It was a surprising defeat for the Three Lions as they were unable to score against a defensively compact Iceland at Wembley on June 7. Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson opened the scoring by beating Aaron Ramsdale at the near post. England couldn't find the equalizer for the rest of the game.

This led to boos from the home crowd, who waited 90 minutes for any clinical efficiency from the Three Lions and found none. After the game, Kobbie Mainoo responded to the boos, revealing that it would not impact the players (via 90min):

"Not at all! We know the quality we have in the changing room and now we just have to show the fans we're good enough and we can compete in Germany. I think going into a tournament after a loss can be a good thing. We've got a point to prove now to ourselves really because we know we're better than that and play a lot better football."

Mainoo has been handed the No. 25 shirt for his first-ever tournament with the England national team, and he will hope to provide impressive performances.

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