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I trained with Kobbie Mainoo and thought he was a trialist - two years later he's a Man United and England star

June 16, 2024, is a date that Manchester United starlet Kobbie Mainoo will dream of reflecting on with great fondness in years to come.

After being included in England's final 26-man squad for the European Championship, he will dream of starting their tournament opener against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen next Sunday evening. If given the nod by Gareth Southgate, his first competitive start for his country will come at a major tournament.

Given his England debut as recently as March, the prospect of starting in Germany would complete a fairytale campaign for the 19-year-old, who will no doubt still be on cloud nine after scoring the decisive goal in the FA Cup final last month. That marked the latest highlight in his growing collection.

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Establishing himself as a regular starter at Old Trafford, Mainoo will now dream of doing the same with England. Southgate has lauded the youngster in the build-up to the tournament and it feels only natural that he will play his part in England's search for success.

If Mainoo does get the nod to complete England's midfield, almost certainly alongside Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham, it will be a reflection of the hard work he has put in and the maturity he has shown. Those who have been fortunate enough to witness his rise over the last few years are very aware of just how special he is.

That talent was apparent from a very young age; age five, to be exact.

"In terms of my time at Cheadle and Gatley, he was definitely a standout player by a mile at that young age," Steve Vare, who is still involved with the

Read more on manchestereveningnews.co.uk