Rio Ferdinand names the last Premier League teenager he saw debut with as much composure as Kobbie Mainoo
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Rio Ferdinand believes no teenager has looked as composed as Kobbie Mainoo on their Premier League debut for nearly 20 years.
The 18-year-old started for Manchester United in Sunday's 3-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park.
Despite the hostile atmosphere amid Everton's 10-point deduction, Mainoo thrived in central midfield alongside Scott McTominay.
Mainoo received praise from fans and pundits alike for his performance. United manager Erik ten Hag added it was exactly what he wants from midfielders in his side.
Ferdinand discussed Mainoo's performance during Monday's episode of Vibe With Five.
The ex-Red Devils defender remarked he's not seen a youngster look so comfortable on his first start since Cesc Fabregas for Arsenal.
Fabregas made his Premier League debut in a 4-1 win over Everton in August 2004, aged 17 years, three months and 11 days.
He'd become a shining light for Arsenal in an otherwise bleak period before departing for Barcelona in 2011.
Ferdinand stressed he didn't want to put that pressure on Mainoo this early in his career, but the signs are there.
He explained: "I thought about it the other day, 18-year-olds coming into the first team in the Premier League who gave performances like that… [Cesc] Fabregas?
"I’m not saying he [Mainoo] is as good as these guys, there have been more explosive but I’m talking about composure. This was a crazy performance."
Ten Hag had been preparing Mainoo for more minutes this season but an ankle injury over the summer halted those plans.
The Dutch coach told reporters post-match: "He has a lot of abilities and it was a really disappointing moment in pre-season when he got so badly injured.
"For him but also for our team, because I know he can progress a lot if he plays many of such games as today.
"I know young players will develop very quickly and we thought it was the moment to bring him in. We prepared him properly but he did a great job and now he has to build on this."
United return to action against Galatasaray in the Champions League on Wednesday evening.
Defeat in Group A would see United eliminated from the Champions League.