Man Utd, Newcastle cannot resist gravitating towards ‘one of their own’ as Mainoo, Miley emerge

Lewis Oldham
Man Utd starlet Mainoo
Kobbie Mainoo and Lewis Miley.

No matter whether your club is broken or rocketing upwards to new heights, Manchester United’s Kobbie Mainoo and Newcastle United’s Lewis Miley are proving that the lure of ‘one of your own’ is still irresistible.


On a weekend when Manchester City clashed with Liverpool in the title rivals’ latest tussle at the Etihad and Alejandro Garnacho perhaps scored the greatest overhead kick of all time, Man Utd and Newcastle earned valuable wins over Everton and Chelsea.

These victories were impressive for differing reasons but they both came thanks largely to a teenager in the starting line-up: Kobbie Mainoo for Man Utd and Lewis Miley for Newcastle.

Man Utd‘s trip to face a fired-up Everton had disastrous defeat written all over it but Erik ten Hag’s team did not stick to the script.

While Garnacho took the majority of the headlines for his extraordinary goal, the contribution made by Mainoo was just as – if not more – important.

Coming in for his full Premier League debut, the defensive midfielder played with a level of calmness that can only be showcased by a fearless teenager who is confident in his abilities.

From dropping deep to picking up possession in difficult areas to that clearance off the line to deny Everton a deserved equaliser, the 18-year-old acquitted himself superbly; he looked like a seasoned professional who has been performing at this level for years.

Mainoo – who Gary Neville believes will be coveted by Manchester City – put in a performance that put his struggling £60m team-mate Casemiro to shame, while Miley produced a star-making performance in Newcastle’s 4-1 thumping of Chelsea.

Due to Mainoo’s recent chequered injury record, he has been afforded fewer first-team opportunities than 17-year-old Miley, who became Newcastle’s youngest ever player in the Premier League when he made his debut at the end of last season.

The pressure has been growing on Eddie Howe in recent weeks as he – along with Ten Hag – are among the favourites in the Premier League sack race.

Newcastle’s results pre-Chelsea were admittedly disappointing, but Howe is being hamstrung by a serious injury crisis and it is this injury crisis that has afforded Miley the chance to make his first and second Premier League starts for his boyhood club.

As they have done against many opponents at St James’ Park under Howe, Newcastle overwhelmed a toothless Chelsea side en route to yet another resounding victory on home turf.

And the moment most people are talking about from that game was Miley’s assist for Alexander Isak’s opener.

The clock had not yet passed the 15-minute mark when Miley received the ball on the edge of the penalty area. In this scenario, he would have been forgiven had he gone for glory himself, visualising his goal-scoring moment on the back of the next day’s newspaper.

This is what the Chelsea players closing him down expected to happen but the classy teenager was one chess move ahead of everyone else as he played a sublime pass to an unmarked Isak, who converted clinically via a superb two-touch finish.

Newcastle pair Miley and Isak

Man Utd and Newcastle look to be heading in very different directions right now.

The Red Devils’ form is on the upturn but with performances far from good enough and an unnerving run of fixtures coming up, their recent results may prove to just be papering over the clear cracks in the Ten Hag regime as they struggle for an identity under the Dutchman.

Ten Hag has not been helped by the Glazer family-shaped dark cloud that continues to hover over Old Trafford and while they will hope Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s rebuild is successful, PIF-owned Newcastle are already rocketing upwards to new heights.

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There are bound to be bumps on the road for Newcastle. A few have already come this season and Howe may not prove to be the right man to turn them into title winners, but their growth since PIF bought the Premier League club in October 2021 has been as rapid as it is impressive.

But despite all the money, two differing but huge clubs like Newcastle and Man Utd cannot help themselves from gravitating towards ‘one of their own’.

This is the case with teams from the top to the bottom of the English footballing pyramid. No matter how well or poorly your club is performing, the emergence of a local lad from the academy is always joyous and can add some sparkle to what could otherwise be a disastrous situation.

Mainoo and Miley certainly have a long way to go. Unless they are of freakish Jude Bellingham-esque breeding, their careers will not be perfect as injuries and dips in form will come. But the supporters of Man Utd and Newcastle will be right there with them for their rollercoaster footballing journey. After all, they’re one of their own.