Sunday, July 14, 2024

Gareth Southgate makes honest Kobbie Mainoo admission after starring for England

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England manager Gareth Southgate has admitted his team has lacked a midfielder of Kobbie Mainoo’s profile after he starred in Wednesday night’s European Championship semi-final victory over the Netherlands.

Substitute Ollie Watkins netted a dramatic 90th-minute winner to send the Three Lions to a second successive European Championship final. England had earlier come from behind to draw themselves level via a Harry Kane penalty.

On a night of pure joy and emotion, England produced their best performance of the tournament thus far, inspired by the brilliance of Phil Foden and Mainoo in midfield. The duo were at their sparkling best in the first half, with Foden a lick of paint away from scoring a Goal of the Tournament contender.

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Mainoo, who started for the third game running, was a colossus in the engine room, playing progressive passes, receiving the ball on the half turn and winning almost every second ball. His performance oozed class and he is almost guaranteed to start Sunday’s final against Spain.

Lauding his display in his post-match press conference, Southgate told reporters: “I think all of his performances have been exceptional, especially when you consider his age. We haven’t really had a player like him until now.

“It makes such a difference when your midfield players can receive [the ball] pressed and turn with the ball so easily and comfortably. It looks simple when he does it, but it isn’t simple.

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