Kobbie Mainoo was a bright spark against Tottenham (Picture: Getty)
United were second best against Tottenham on Sunday, eventually settling for a 2-2 draw despite going ahead twice in the first half.
Spurs controlled the possession and territory for large swathes of the game as Sir Jim Ratcliffe – in attendance for the first time since his 25 per cent stake in United was confirmed – saw the true scale of the task at hand for the British billionaire.
One player, though, who did emerge from the game with more credit was Mainoo, who has continued to impress since making his Premier League debut in November last year.
The academy star has now started the Red Devils’ last six games in all competitions and his performances have left Wright convinced that he is the future of the team’s midfield.
‘Give him the keys, because when you look at the way he plays, his calmness, his maturity for his age, the positions he picks up, he’s somebody now,’ Wright said on Match of the Day 2.
‘I’m looking at Manchester United still playing counter-attacking football at home when you’ve got a player in midfield that can progress the ball and play the ball with such calmness, such fluidity.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe was in attendance for Sunday’s game (Picture: Getty)
‘I’d love to see Mainoo where he’s in a situation where he’s then able to get the ball and just put it forward.
‘At some stage, just let him play, let him be the orchestrator – progressing the ball and getting the ball and playing the ball – so that the front men, instead of having to continually try and run for transition, come and play, link play, one-twos. Start playing football.’
Despite Mainoo’s encouraging display, the draw leaves United with just one win in their last six league games and eight points off the top four.
And according to Gary Neville, Erik ten Hag’s position will be under threat if he continues to fail to produce a style of play.
‘We need to see a style of play develop in the next few months or else I think the coach will be vulnerable because ultimately the new owner will come in and want to see how we’re going to play, want electricity, want razzmatazz,’ he said on his Sky Sports podcast.
‘I love watching Spurs play football. Manchester United are a hard watch. They’ve got some exciting, talented players, it just needs to somehow gel in the next few months, and I hope it can for Erik ten Hag.
‘I’m talking about patterns and combinations that players can rely upon when they go through difficult moments in a match. The last time that I saw combinations of play and a series of passes that looked like they belonged to one another was under Louis van Gaal.’
‘Give him the keys, because when you look at the way he plays, his calmness, his maturity for his age, the positions he picks up, he’s somebody now.’