Man United sensation Kobbie Mainoo eyes Euro 2024 spot after England call-up

Teenager joins Anthony Gordon and Jarrad Branthwaite in Gareth Southgate's squad for friendlies against Brazil and Belgium

Kobbie Mainoo trains with the senior England squad at St George's Park. PA
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Manchester United's teenage sensation Kobbie Mainoo has described his call-up to the senior England squad as "mad".

The 18-year-old midfielder was drafted into Gareth Southgate's set-up for this month's friendlies against Brazil and Belgium along with Newcastle United forward Anthony Gordon and 21-year-old Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite.

Initially named in the under-21s squad, Mainoo was promoted to the senior squad following a commanding performance in United’s thrilling 4-3 FA Cup quarter-final win against Liverpool on Sunday.

“It’s been a pretty mad couple of days,” Mainoo told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Sunday obviously was a great game and a great win [against Liverpool], then to get called up to the under-21s, obviously I was excited to come.

“Then getting down here and realising that I was with the first team was amazing.

“I was shocked and happy and it’s been a whirlwind of emotions.”

Mainoo has established himself as a key figure in Erik ten Hag's team since his return from an ankle injury he picked up pre-season.

He earned the man-of-the-match award in his first Premier League start against Everton in November and just 114 days later has been given his maiden England call-up.

Now Mainoo says that, while making his England debut is the first priority, he is also targeting a place in the squad for Euro 2024 in Germany.

“Yeah, I think that’s the end goal for the season, to get into that squad,” Mainoo said.

“But obviously I’ve got to focus on club football in the meantime, and hopefully that’ll figure itself out.”

Newcastle forward Gordon, meanwhile, said after his call-up to Southgate's squad that a switch of international allegiance to Scotland was never an option.

Gordon helped England to glory at the 2023 Under-21 European Championship, where he was named as player of the tournament.

But he is also eligible to represent Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.

"It was never a thought for me," said Gordon when asked about the chance of playing for Scotland at Euro 2024.

"That's no disrespect to Scotland at all. I've been tunnel-visioned on playing for England since I was five or six years old. Nothing could ever shake that off."

Born in Liverpool, Gordon's inspiration to play for the Three Lions came from watching former England captains Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard.

"I think as a young English kid, that is the pinnacle to play for your country," he added. "For me, it was always Rooney and Gerrard because they were from similar areas."

Branthwaite described his senior call-up as a “dream come true”.

Branthwaite’s path to the England set-up was a less travelled one, having come up through the ranks at hometown club Carlisle before joining Everton and going on to spend time on loan at PSV Eindhoven.

“If you’d have said at the start of the season that I would be in the England squad then I probably wouldn’t have believed it, but that’s where I am now and I’m very happy to be here,” said Branthwaite.

“I thought I’d be with the under-21s [during this international break] so I had nothing planned. But getting the call for the seniors was a dream come true.”

England face Brazil at Wembley on Saturday before taking on Belgium on Tuesday at the same venue – the last two fixtures before the England manager names his squad for Euro 2024.

Updated: March 21, 2024, 2:36 PM