Man Utd issued Kobbie Mainoo warning as Red Devils coach name-drops Real Madrid

Phil Jones has warned Man Utd about Kobbie Mainoo. (Image: Getty)

Manchester United have been warned to manage Kobbie Mainoo correctly to ensure he reaches his potential as an important player for the future as well as the present. Phil Jones also arrived in the United first team as a teenager before relentless injuries plagued his once-promising career.

And the 32-year-old – now retired and working as a coach in the club’s academy – is keen for Mainoo to avoid the same fate after entering an environment involving unprecedented pressure.

Sir Alex Ferguson signed Jones from Blackburn Rovers in a £17million deal in 2011, and he remained at Old Trafford for 12 years.

But he spent almost all of the final years of his United career in the background due to injury problems, which contributed to his decision to retire when his contract expired last summer.

Jones was part of the coaching staff in a sensational season for United’s academy, lifting the U18 Premier League and Premier League Cup double.

Alejandro Garnacho and Mainoo’s success – as well as Ethan Wheatley becoming the club’s 250th academy graduate – were also reasons to celebrate.

Mainoo – selected in England’s Euro 2024 squad after earning his first three caps in recent months – will start next season as one of the first names on the United teamsheet.

Jones is convinced United have a special talent but has urged the club to manage the 19-year-old midfielder’s development properly to avoid paying the price further down the line.

“I just hope he’s managed properly. Managing a player like him, at his age, is so important,” Jones told Ladbrokes.

Phil Jones is now a Man Utd academy coach. (Image: Getty)

“I know I played a lot when I was younger, and whether or not that had an impact on the later stages of my career, I don’t know, but hopefully, he’s managed well in terms of his training load and game time.

“There’ll be moments where you’re just going to have to take him out of the team, not because of his performances, but because you need to look after him and wrap him in cotton wool.

He’s a young player, and we’ve got to recognise and remember that. We need to be thinking about the need for Kobbie Mainoo in five or six years from now, not just the need for him here and now.”

United are the most scrutinised club in the country, and arguably the world, after an era of domination under Ferguson followed by a decade of mediocrity.

Jones believes Real Madrid are the only other club under the microscope as intensely as United, another consideration when overseeing Mainoo’s progression.

He added: “Wearing that United shirt comes with a huge amount of pressure. There’s a huge reward, by the way, but there’s a huge amount of pressure.

“There aren’t many teams I can think of who face that level of pressure. Maybe Real Madrid are in the same position?

“But I always say that by playing for Manchester United, you’re playing for the biggest club in the world. Everything is magnified; everyone wants to get a story out of the club, and as a player, you’ve got to embrace that.”