Watch Goal Video: Manchester United vs Everton - Marcus Rashford scores a classic penalty kick - soocer442
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Watch Goal Video: Manchester United vs Everton – Marcus Rashford scores a classic penalty kick

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It was easy to forget that Kobbie Mainoo had never played a Premier League game before Manchester United beat Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon.

The 18-year-old had only played in the Premier League once before, at the end of United’s 3-0 win over Leicester City at Old Trafford in February. He came on for the last 10 minutes of the game to replace Marcel Sabitzer, who had been on loan from the team earlier that day.

However, there has been so much pressure on manager Erik ten Hag to put him in the starting lineup lately that you might have thought he was already a regular. Before the trip to Merseyside, more and more people were calling for him to be given a start.

You could fully understand why he was taken off after 72 minutes on United’s last ever league trip to Goodison. When placed at the base of the engine room, the academy graduate put in a slick performance that earned praise from both United fans and people who were just watching.

Mainoo was at the top of his game even though it was his first league start on an afternoon when the crowd was meant to scare United into not playing their best. He didn’t play like a player who had only played three senior games for the club before; he controlled the game in middle and used the ball quickly and calmly.

But instead, he played so well that Ten Hag can’t even begin to think about leaving him out of his plans for Wednesday’s important Champions League match in Turkey against Galatasaray. One of the first names on the teamsheet should be his.

In addition to being smart with the ball, Mainoo was also good at defense, helping United hold out against the onslaught of attacks that came after Alejandro Garnacho scored an amazing goal in the third minute to give them the lead. After that early loss, the Toffees were fired up and created a number of chances, some of which they should have taken.

They took control of the game and played quickly, which United has had trouble with so far this season. As a repeat of the past seemed likely, with the Reds letting up after a strong start, Mainoo stepped up and led by example, making sure everything was as neat as possible when United finally got the ball.

Gary Neville, a former United right back who was on duty as a co-commentator for Sky Sports, praised the young player’s attitude and response to the new circumstances. He told him something nice, which should make him feel even better about himself.

During the first half, Neville said, “The last 10 or 15 minutes have been tough, but Mainoo looks like the only United player who is standing tall.” The 18-year-old in the red shirt looks like he has the most experience.

Marcus Rashford scored a penalty to end his goal drought, and Anthony Martial added to United’s score after halftime. However, Mainoo’s clearance just over 10 minutes before halftime was the most important play of the game. The news stories might have been very different if he hadn’t been so aware and determined to stop McNeil’s goal-oriented effort.

Watch Goal Video: Manchester United vs Everton – Marcus Rashford scores a classic penalty kick:

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