Claude Makelele draws parallels between Man United’s Kobbie Mainoo and Michael Essien


Former France international Claude Makelele has drawn comparisons between Manchester United’s rising star Kobbie Mainoo and legendary midfielder Michael Essien, highlighting Mainoo’s potential for greatness.


Makelele noted the similarities between Mainoo and Essien’s early careers, both starting as teenagers in Ligue 1 clubs (Mainoo at Bastia and Essien at Olympique Lyon) before making significant impacts. Essien, famously, went on to secure a prominent move to Chelsea, where he became a key figure in midfield alongside Makelele during their successful stint under Jose Mourinho.


Reflecting on Mainoo’s breakthrough in the English Premier League last season, Makelele praised the 19-year-old’s performances, including a crucial goal in Manchester United’s FA Cup final victory over Manchester City. Makelele highlighted Mainoo’s call-up to the England national team for the upcoming European Championship as a testament to his rapid rise.


Expressing his admiration, Makelele stated, “In England’s midfield, I would go for Rice, Bellingham, and this boy in Manchester [Mainoo]. He is very good, so young, but he has demonstrated that he can play. He is young but has quality. I think he will add some spice to the midfield.”


Makelele also drew parallels between Mainoo’s style and Essien’s, emphasizing the need for Mainoo to learn from Essien’s experience and develop further. “He needs to learn more from Michael Essien. He is young, you know, and he has a great future ahead of him. Good dribbler, running, fighting,” Makelele commented.


Recognized as one of the finest defensive midfielders in football history, Makelele sees potential in Mainoo to evolve into a pivotal player for the national team.

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