Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag will be concerned about midfielder Kobbie Mainoo’s fitness after he departed Thursday’s preseason friendly against Real Madrid on crutches. The 18-year-old was forced off early in United’s 2-0 loss at Houston’s NRG Stadium.
Ten Hag kept faith in Mainoo following a string of good preseason outings, playing him alongside Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes in midfield.
Casemiro took down Rodrygo as he charged towards United’s goal just six minutes into the friendly versus Real, and the Brazilian clashed with Mainoo on his way down.
It converted the highly-rated teenager’s dream situation against one of the world’s top midfielders into a nightmare.
To make matters worse, Jude Bellingham scored when United were down to 10 men as Christian Eriksen waited to enter the field, giving Real an early lead.
Joselu added a late second with a spectacular overhead kick, handing Ten Hag’s senior squad their first pre-season defeat.
Concerns were raised after full-time when images on social media showed Mainoo leaving the stadium on crutches while wearing a protective boot.
Ten Hag stated in his post-match press conference that Mainoo would be given more opportunities this season, regardless matter how serious the issue was.
“I understand the question [about the nature of the injury].” But it’s impossible to determine after a game. “We’ll have to wait and see,” Ten Hag told reporters.
“Hopefully, it won’t be too bad, and then opportunities will present themselves.” I was curious to see what levels he could master. We were thrilled with his effort against Arsenal.
“I wanted to see if he could do it again a few days later.” We’d have conclusions by then. We must first wait for the diagnosis before reaching any conclusions.”
United’s preseason tour of the United States concludes on Monday with a match against Borussia Dortmund in Las Vegas.
Before the Premier League season begins, United face Lens at Old Trafford and Athletic Club in Bilbao the following weekend.
As he bids for a key role in Ten Hag’s plans this term, Mainoo will hope to partake in at least one of those fixtures.