News From Manchester: Erik ten Hag has another youngster on his Manchester United radar – Richard Fay

The Dutchman is expected to field a full-strength side for Saturday's friendly against Atletico Madrid in Oslo before playing a second-string outfit for his Old Trafford bow against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.

By the end of the weekend, we should know who is currently at the top of Ten Hag's hierarchy and also who is on the periphery ahead of a bumper season that will see United's squad depth tested to the limits.

United fans will be eager to see the summer signings Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez get their first official outings for the club, and they are not the only ones who may get a first taste of senior action this weekend.

Eriksen and Martinez both got a half of action in United's behind-closed-doors friendly win over Wrexham in midweek, with both players being replaced at half-time by a pair of academy hopefuls.

Will Fish, who was sent off during the recent pre-season tour of Australia, came on for Martinez while Eriksen, who netted a free-kick, was replaced by Youth Cup winner Kobbie Mainoo.

The 17-year-old midfielder is one of the most exciting players at the club and played an integral role in the Youth Cup triumph, starting in every round of their successful campaign.

The talented teenager, playing from a deep midfield role last season, caught the eye with his intelligent dribbling play and his expansive passive range, often dictating matches and controlling the tempovery much in the mould of the progressive midfielder that Ten Hag likes.

His reward was a first professional deal back in May, a dream come true for the Stockport-born central midfielder who has been with United since the age of nine.

Mainoo made 42 appearances for United across various youth competitions as well, with priceless experience in the Youth League and his first taste of Premier League 2 action.

He will now be expected to make the gradual transition to U23s football in the upcoming campaign and is viewed as a potential successor to Charlie Savage and Zidane Iqbal should either of them leave on loan or gain further senior involvement under Ten Hag.

Despite the hype, there is still plenty to learn, though, and with just one Premier League 2 start to his name so far, Mainoo faces the toughest test of his career so far as he looks to adapt to a league that features players who are five years older than him.

All that he can do now is continue to work hard and take any chance that comes his way, but having had the chance to catch the eye of Ten Hag in midweek will certainly have done him no harm at all.


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