Watch Kobbie Mainoo and Zidane Iqbal are giving Erik ten Hag what he wants for Manchester United

March 7, 2023

Man Utd’s U21s lost 3-1 against Chelsea in the Premier League 2 on Tuesday but they could have won the game at Leigh.

Ahead of kick-off at Leigh Sports Village on Tuesday night, there was a rare pre-match birthday announcement. ‘Harvey’ was celebrating his 13th birthday and he would have been delighted with Manchester United’s Under-21 starting lineup.

Club sources have indicated Mainoo is considered a real natural talent with high technical ability and he started in attacking midfield from the first whistle under the floodlights, so it was appropriate that he was wearing the No.10 shirt.

Tom Huddlestone and Iqbal, the Iraqi-Mancunian who impressed Erik ten Hag on the pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia last summer, started alongside Mainoo in the centre and they were behind Mateo Mejia, Joe Hugill and Dan Gore in attack.

United’s U21s endured a poor start to the season, but their fortunes have improved since the New Year and confidence in the dressing room of getting a result against Chelsea would have been high, despite coming up against strong opponents.

The Reds entered the contest having gone eight games undefeated, but Chelsea are second in the Premier League 2 and they showed their quality from the very start of the game when almost scoring through Mason Burstow within a minute. A simple ball over the top caught out United’s defenders, Marc Jurado, Sonny Aljofree, Bjorn Hardley and Brandon Williams, and they were thankful for the intervention of Radek Vitel, who made a huge save to prevent a nightmare start.