Rio Ferdinand compares Man Utd midfielder Kobbie Mainoo to four-time Champions League winner

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Manchester United enjoyed a dramatic late win at Wolves on Thursday with Kobbie Mainoo the hero.

Rio Ferdinand believes the control and awareness of Kobbie Mainoo is reminiscent of AC Milan icon Clarence Seedorf, following the Manchester United midfielder's late winner at Wolves.

Mainoo was the hero at Molineux on Thursday night, curling a dramatic 97th-minute winner past Jose Sa after some excellent footwork in a tight space. United had twice thrown away a two-goal lead, with Pedro Neto's added-time equaliser set to be yet another hammer blow for Erik ten Hag's side.

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But Mainoo, who started his eighth Premier League game of the season in the Midlands, had other ideas, managing to compose himself in the dying minutes to snatch victory at the death. The 19-year-old has earned plenty of praise in recent months and Ferdinand believes he plays like one of the best ever in his role.

“I’m not saying he’s of the same ability and he’s that player yet, but you give me the signs, this gives me the vibes of Clarence Seedorf,” Ferdinand told TNT Sports. “The way you can manoeuvre in tight situations, and the way he manipulates his ball, uses his body at times, but then shifts it and just just pops it through the legs of [Max] Kilman there. Beautiful.

“Elusive at times as well. Just the control and the awareness to be able to pick his spot there. Some players see the headlights there, and the back pages, and think ‘I’m just gonna go for it’. He just caressed it”

Comparisons to someone like Seedorf should not be taken lightly, given the 87-cap Dutch international played more than 400 times for AC Milan at their peak, winning two Champions League titles. The midfielder also won Europe's flagship competition at Ajax and Real Madrid in previous years, while league titles with all three clubs were aplenty.

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Mainoo has some way to go before reaching that level but the teenager has been outstanding since making his Premier League debut at Everton in November. Such has been his influence in central midfield that Casemiro was barely missed during a near three-month absence and on-loan Sofyan Amrabat was often benched.

The youngster played the full 90 minutes at Molineux and saw his side take a commanding early lead, with Marcus Rashford and Rasmus Hojlund both scoring in the first-half. Pablo Sarabia pulled one back from the spot in the 71st-minute but Scott McTominay came off the bench to restore breathing space.

United did look to have thrown away the three points when Max Kilman netted before Pedro Neto’s 95th-minute equaliser. But Mainoo secured a first Premier League win of 2024 to pull his side up to seventh.

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