Erik ten Hag was in a feisty mood as he took on the press following Manchester United's FA Cup triumph, insisting he will win trophies anywhere he goes.

It was reported on Friday that United had made the decision to sack Ten Hag regardless of whether or not he managed to claim a shock FA Cup win over Manchester City.

Yet the Dutchman did just that at Wembley on Saturday, with first-half goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo enough to claim a 2-1 victory.

It is United's first FA Cup success since 2016. On that occasion, Ten Hag's compatriot, Louis van Gaal, was sacked after claiming the trophy.

And Ten Hag was in no mood to be criticised when he told reporters: "We have to keep going, and I'm not satisfied with it, we have to do better and if they don't want me anymore, then I go will somewhere else to win trophies, because that is what I did my whole career.

"That is what they always tell me."

The former Ajax coach subsequently cut short his press conference when it was put to him by a journalist that United, who finished eighth in the Premier League, were still way behind where they should be.

"Sorry to say this, but you don't have any knowledge about football, about managing a football team," Ten Hag said. "When you don't have the players available, then you can't perform, so simple as that.

"And if that is the opinion, it is no problem. Then I go anywhere else and I go and keep winning trophies."

Ten Hag, who waved to the Red Devils' fans at full-time, has now won two trophies with United, having taken them to an EFL Cup triumph last season.

City manager Pep Guardiola said United must now make a decision.

"They have to take a decision. He's a lovely person and an extraordinary manager," Guardiola said.

"Winning the FA Cup is important for them like last season it was for us."

Reflecting on City's loss, Guardiola said: "Disappointed today, it's normal teams can lose finals but this season has been extraordinary fighting for all the trophies in a good way.

"We will rest and come back next season."

Erik ten Hag admits he does not know whether or not he has managed Manchester United for the last time, after guiding the Red Devils to FA Cup glory.

The Dutchman led his team out against Manchester City in a repeat of last year's final with his job reportedly on the line, regardless of the result ahead of the final at Wembley.

Nevertheless, the Red Devils produced a spirited performance with first-half goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo eventually enough to secure a 2-1 win over their rivals.

It provided a happy ending to a difficult season for United, in which they recorded their lowest Premier League finish of eighth, but still managed to snatch European football for next term.

However, speculation and question marks continue to hang over the future of Ten Hag, who waved to United supporters during the team's lap of honour after collecting his second trophy in as many years at Old Trafford.

But the former Ajax head coach remains tight-lipped on what will happen next.

When asked if that was his last game in charge, he told BBC Sport. "I don't know. The only thing I can do is prepare my team, progress and develop my team and individual players.

"This is a project. When I came in, it was a mess. We are better, but we are by far not where we want to be.

"Football is about winning trophies. I want to play the best football. I want to play dynamic football, attacking football, but in the end, you have to win games and trophies. That is the mentality that we brought in.

"We only had one opportunity this season – that was the FA Cup. We did it. I'm so very proud of the players and staff, who did an incredible job."

Ten Hag could well suffer the same fate as compatriot Louis van Gaal, who was dismissed by the club after guiding them to FA Cup glory in 2016.

The 54-year-old stated his belief that he and the team had been unfairly treated by the media over the course of the campaign, during which he felt injuries to key players severely hampered his side's progress.

"I think so. The team, me as well – it was not right," he added. "We didn't have the players. It was not always good football, but we have had to make compromises all the time, then you can't play the football you want to play.

"I have been here two years, and we maybe had three, four times, the full squad [available]. Today, we had some massive players like Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Casemiro not on board.

"All the compliments to the team. They have played very well, to our identity. You can see when we have the players on board, how we can play to our philosophy. Some of them are not even fit, or match fit.
 
"I have said the whole year. When the players are fit, we can play good football and have a good performance against the best team in the world.
 
"Always, when you have a local rivalry, it's much more important when you play against the other team from the city. But for us, it was not about this, it was more to prove a point after such a tough year.

"With so many setbacks, the team showed so much resilience, and I'm very proud of them."

Pep Guardiola will not need to take extra motivation from Manchester City's FA Cup final loss to Manchester United.

City's hopes of retaining their FA Cup crown, and securing a double for the 2023-24 season, were dashed at Wembley on Saturday, as United ran out 2-1 winners.

Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo scored the goals as United stunned their neighbours, who had finished 31 points clear of the Red Devils in the Premier League.

Jeremy Doku pulled one back late on but City became the first holders of the FA Cup to finish as runners-up in the following campaign since United in 2004-05, but Guardiola refuted the suggestion that his rivals' triumph would serve as additional motivation for his squad ahead of next season.

Guardiola told BBC Sport: "We don't play to beat United, we play for ourselves."

City dominated possession against United, having 73.5 per cent of the ball, but Erik ten Hag's team had more shots on target (five to four) and accumulated a higher expected goals figure (1.5 to 1.3).

When asked if he thought United were the better side, though, Guardiola said: "No.

"The second half we were there. United are always a transition team, they have been for 10, 20, 30 years.

"[In the ] first half we struggled a bit but second half we were better. In general it was a good performance for a final."

Asked what he said to his players at full-time, Guardiola replied: "I congratulated all of them on another fantastic season.

"It went wrong. We lost the game – congratulations to United. It was a tight game, we conceded, but in the second half we changed our pace up front, we made a good effort.

"It can happen. Many things can happen – they scored two goals and we could not score more."

Erik ten Hag wants people to be patient with Kobbie Mainoo, despite the Manchester United youngster quickly developing into a star.

Mainoo's meteoric rise reached its highest peak yet as he netted in Saturday's FA Cup final against Manchester City, with his fine finish and Alejandro Garnacho's goal nine minutes prior ensuring United claimed a 2-1 victory over their rivals to lift the trophy.

Mainoo, aged just 19 years and 36 days, was the first English teenager to find the back of the net in an FA Cup final since 1981, while he is also the youngest to do so since John Sissons for West Ham in 1964.

Mainoo's cup final goal came in the same week he was named in Gareth Southgate's 33-man provisional squad for Euro 2024, and he looks a surefire bet to be on the plane to Germany next month.

Yet, Ten Hag believes people mustn't expect too much, too soon from the midfielder.

"I think we have to keep it calm," Ten Hag told the BBC. "You are very good here in England to push players and managers very high, and then you hammer them after one or two bad performances. I think we need to keep it very calm.

"He was [magnificent]. It was really so enjoyable to watch Kobbie at his age.

"But he's also an example [of problems]. We wanted to play him in the second game [of the season], but then he got a bad injury. It was a long time until he came back."

Erik ten Hag admits he does not know whether or not he has managed Manchester United for the last time, after guiding the Red Devils to FA Cup glory.

The Dutchman led his team out against Manchester City in a repeat of last year's final with his job reportedly on the line, regardless of the result ahead of the final at Wembley.

Nevertheless, the Red Devils produced a spirited performance with first-half goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo eventually enough to secure a 2-1 win over their rivals.

It provided a happy ending to a difficult season for United, in which they recorded their lowest Premier League finish of eighth, but still managed to snatch European football for next term.

However, speculation and question marks continue to hang over the future of Ten Hag, who waved to United supporters during the team's lap of honour after collecting his second trophy in as many years at Old Trafford.

But the former Ajax head coach remains tight-lipped on what will happen next.

When asked if that was his last game in charge, he told BBC Sport. "I don't know. The only thing I can do is prepare my team, progress and develop my team and individual players.

"This is a project. When I came in, it was a mess. We are better, but we are by far not where we want to be.

"Football is about winning trophies. I want to play the best football. I want to play dynamic football, attacking football, but in the end, you have to win games and trophies. That is the mentality that we brought in.

"We only had one opportunity this season – that was the FA Cup. We did it. I'm so very proud of the players and staff, who did an incredible job."

Ten Hag could well suffer the same fate as compatriot Louis van Gaal, who was dismissed by the club after guiding them to FA Cup glory in 2016.

The 54-year-old stated his belief that he and the team had been unfairly treated by the media over the course of the campaign, during which he felt injuries to key players severely hampered his side's progress.

"I think so. The team, me as well – it was not right," he added. "We didn't have the players. It was not always good football, but we have had to make compromises all the time, then you can't play the football you want to play.

"I have been here two years, and we maybe had three, four times, the full squad [available]. Today, we had some massive players like Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Casemiro not on board.

"All the compliments to the team. They have played very well, to our identity. You can see when we have the players on board, how we can play to our philosophy. Some of them are not even fit, or match fit.
 
"I have said the whole year. When the players are fit, we can play good football and have a good performance against the best team in the world.
 
"Always, when you have a local rivalry, it's much more important when you play against the other team from the city. But for us, it was not about this, it was more to prove a point after such a tough year.

"With so many setbacks, the team showed so much resilience, and I'm very proud of them."

Bruno Fernandes believes Erik ten Hag and Manchester United deserved to win the FA Cup after a challenging campaign.

Goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo gave United a 2-1 victory over Manchester City in Saturday's final at Wembley.

The cup victory comes amid strong reports that manager Ten Hag will be relieved of his duties in the near future following an eighth-placed finish in the Premier League.

But with Ten Hag potentially going out on a high, Fernandes feels Ten Hag and the club earned their opportunity to walk up the famous Wembley steps to lift the FA Cup.

"It is crucial for everyone," Fernandes told the BBC. "We know the manager is under so much scrutiny. He deserves this, also everyone in the backroom staff and the players, we all deserve this.

"It was the last chance to get something positive from the season. We were here last season and we weren't good enough, and we had to see them [City] go up and get the trophy.

"They have great quality, great players, a great manager. We had to sacrifice and suffer but we did great things. I try my best to help the team."

In scoring United's second, Mainoo (19 years and 36 days) became the first English teenager to net in an FA Cup final since Steve MacKenzie for City against Tottenham in 1981 (19y 172d) and the youngest to do so since John Sissons for West Ham against Preston North End in 1964 (18y 215d).

Fernandes hailed the impact of Mainoo, who earlier this week was named in Gareth Southgate's provisional 33-man England squad for the upcoming European Championships in Germany.

"Kobbie Mainoo is really good, such a quality player and you can see the composure he had with the finish," Fernandes continued.

"He came through the academy and once more on the biggest stage in the world he showed it again.

"Congratulations to everyone, the staff, the players and all the fans, they have given us a big push. Finally, we have something to celebrate."

Kobbie Mainoo lauded the togetherness demonstrated by Manchester United as they stunned rivals Manchester City 2-1 to claim the FA Cup.

Mainoo and fellow teenager Alejandro Garnacho were on target at Wembley to deny Pep Guardiola's side the double after they secured their record-breaking fourth successive Premier League title last weekend.

Although Erik ten Hag's job was reportedly on the line - regardless of the result - United defended brilliantly to largely keep City at bay, despite Jeremy Doku's late strike for the Citizens.

The Red Devils subsequently held out to end a disappointing season on a high, securing a place in the Europa League next term with their first FA Cup triumph since 2016.

And Mainoo, who was named in Gareth Southgate's provisional England squad for the forthcoming European Championship, saluted the efforts of United's players and staff.

"[It means] absolutely everything," he told BBC Sport. "It's been a tough season of ups and downs. All the fans had to look forward to was this final. Last year, I was in the stands watching. I couldn't be involved.

"We knew we had to come together. The staff and the players, the preparation has been amazing. We showed that we can compete, we can come together and win on such a big stage."

Garnacho also paid tribute to his team-mate, who became the first English teenager to score in an FA Cup final since Steve MacKenzie for City against Tottenham in 1981, while dedicating the victory to United's supporters.

"Just incredible; I say he's the best player in the squad, and he's the youngest. I'm so happy for him," the Argentine said of Mainoo.

"[It is an] incredible feeling. Nobody believed in us, but we are together, here with these fans. An incredible moment for us, also for me and Kobbie to score the goals, but all together, we fought like it was the last day of our lives. We're so happy.

"The fans were incredible. They're always there – home games, away games, now Wembley. We won for the fans."

Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo were the heroes as Manchester United pulled off an upset to beat rivals Manchester City 2-1 in the FA Cup final.

United boss Erik ten Hag's job was reportedly on the line whatever the result in Saturday's game, but a mix-up between Josko Gvardiol and Stefan Ortega was capitalised upon by Garnacho to hand the Red Devils the lead at Wembley Stadium.

Mainoo's fine finish made it 2-0 shortly after, and though Jeremy Doku pulled a goal back late on, United held firm to claim the famous trophy for the first time since 2016 and deny City a double after they secured a fourth straight Premier League title last weekend.

It now remains to be seen whether Ten Hag will suffer the same fate as compatriot Louis van Gaal, who was sacked as United boss after winning the FA Cup eight years ago.

Pep Guardiola's men started the brighter, though it was United who went close first as Ortega got his body behind Garnacho's fierce strike.

Garnacho was not to be denied with 30 minutes on the clock, though, as he pounced on a calamitous mix-up in the City defence.

A long ball over the top was not dealt with by either Ortega or Gvardiol, who inadvertently nodded it beyond his goalkeeper, allowing Garnacho to tuck home into an empty net, becoming the first teenager to score an FA Cup final goal since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2004.

And another teenager in Mainoo made it 2-0 before the break at the culmination a brilliantly incisive move.

Garnacho was involved again as he burst down the right and cut back for Bruno Fernandes, whose deft pass teed up 19-year-old Mainoo to coolly slot past Ortega.

Erling Haaland nearly halved the deficit when he rattled the crossbar after the interval, before Andre Onana made a superb stop to keep out Kyle Walker's ferocious long-range drive.

Onana should have done better in the 87th minute, though. United's goalkeeper got down to Doku's hopeful attempt, but could only parry it into the corner.

Yet United ensured Onana's mistake did not prove costly, as City's hopes of a double were dashed and the Red Devils claimed a stunning victory in what could have been Ten Hag's final game at the helm.

United's teenage daydream

United went into the game as outsiders, a fair view considering the 31 points that separated these city rivals in the Premier League table, but the Red Devils' youngsters turned up in some style at Wembley to lead their side to glory, as well as securing European football next season.

Garnacho scored with one of his three shots on target, more than any other player on the pitch, while Mainoo's performance did no harm to his chances of making Gareth Southgate's final squad for Euro 2024, ruthlessly finishing his only big chance and again having an impact in both defence and attack.

Mainoo's goal also made him the first English teenager to net in an FA Cup final since Steve MacKenzie for City against Tottenham in 1981, and he looks set to be a big fixture for both United and England for many years to come.

De Bruyne's dismal derby day

Kevin De Bruyne finished the Premier League season with 10 assists and four goals in just 18 appearances, but he, alongside many of City's stars, looked well off the pace here.

De Bruyne completed an uncharacteristically low 71 per cent of his passes before Guardiola had seen enough, hauling off the Belgium international for Julian Alvarez with over half an hour left.

City ended their league campaign with nine straight wins to seal the title, but they looked a shadow of that side this time out and will finish the season with just one trophy, after claiming a treble last term.

Doku did make an impact after his half-time introduction, but though he managed to cut into United's lead, it was too little, too late.

Manchester United's Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo have become the first teenagers to score in an FA Cup final since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2004.

In the first half of Saturday's FA Cup final against Manchester City, 19-year-old Garnacho capitalised on a mix-up between Stefan Ortega and Josko Gvardiol to become the first teenager to net in the competition's showpiece match since Ronaldo did against Millwall in 2004, also for the Red Devils.

Garnacho's goal made him the third teenager to score for United in an FA Cup final after Ronaldo 20 years ago and Norman Whiteside back in 1983.

Then, just nine minutes later, a brilliant United move ended with Bruno Fernandes laying Garnacho's pass into Mainoo, who coolly finished to double United's lead at just 19-years-old.

Mainoo's finish means United hold a 2-0 lead at half-time against the Premier League champions, while it's also the first men's FA Cup final to see two different teenagers net. Aged just 19 years and 36 days, Mainoo is the youngest English goalscorer in the game since John Sissons for West Ham in 1964.

Mainoo is also the first English teenager to score in an FA Cup final since Steve MacKenzie for City against Tottenham in 1981.

Bruno Fernandes says Manchester United must "finish the season in the best way" following their 3-2 win over Newcastle United.

The United youngsters played starring roles, with Kobbie Mainoo, Amad Diallo and Rasmus Hojlund getting all three goals to close the gap to Newcastle in the table.

Anthony Gordon and Lewis Hall both netted for the Magpies, with the latter setting up a nervy finish with his stoppage-time effort, but their lack of clinical edge meant United earned all three points.

Erik ten Hag’s side avoided a third consecutive defeat, and what would have been a record-breaking 10th home loss of the season, and Fernandes insists they must find a way to finish positively. 

Speaking to Sky Sports, the United captain said: "Obviously the job isn’t finished yet. We still have one game in the Premier League, then the biggest game of the season, the FA Cup final.

"It has been a tough season. The table shows that, and we are all aware of that. The fans have been amazing and behind us all season. We all appreciate what they have been doing for us.

"We want to do better and do differently. They [fans] have been amazing for us, and we had to do something. We have been trying, but results don’t show that. We have been working hard and everyone has been giving their best. It is not enough, and we have to do more.

"We still have two games to go, and we have to finish in the best way.

"It doesn’t exist, a captain's performance, it is a team performance. I am no different from anyone just because I have the armband. I always try my best, and we always do the best we can for the club – nobody hides that we play for a big club, and we have to lift our standards every game."

Despite returning to winning ways, United have now conceded 58 Premier League goals this season, their most across a single campaign in the competition.

Ten Hag was keen to turn the focus away from their struggling defence and onto the attacking players instead.

"Fantastic. Great goals. But it was a team effort how we made the goals. But I'm always happy at young players who are progressing very good and scored some brilliant goals," he told BBC Sport.

"Newcastle have a lot of physical power, and you have to match that, but you also have to play football. We had found the really good balance in this.

"It's always nice to win any game. It's important to win the last game at Old Trafford this season. The fans deserve this because they've had difficult times and always stayed with us.

"We are here together. We wanted to pay the fans back."

 

Kobbie Mainoo says Manchester United need to start seeing out games and iron out little mistakes after Erik ten Hag’s side went close to a stunning win against rivals Liverpool.

Few expected anything other than a victory for Jurgen Klopp’s title challengers on Sunday, especially after Luis Diaz gave the visitors a deserved half-time lead at Old Trafford.

United had not so much as registered a shot until the 50th minute but when it arrived it did so in style and Bruno Fernandes’ audacious 45-yard goal sparked a marked improvement.

Mainoo went onto put the hosts ahead with an exquisite first senior goal at Old Trafford, only for Mohamed Salah’s penalty to seal Liverpool a late 2-2 draw.

 

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“To score my first goal at Old Trafford, it’s unbelievable,” the 18-year-old United academy graduate said.

“But, you know, ultimately we didn’t come away with the three points, so it doesn’t leave the best taste in my mouth.”

It is little wonder Mainoo was frustrated after the Old Trafford outfit blew a late lead for the third time in nine days.

United were on course for a smash-and-grab win at Brentford last weekend, only for Mason Mount’s stoppage-time strike to be followed by an even later Kristoffer Ajer equaliser as it ended 1-1.

Worse was to come when the Red Devils returned to west London on Thursday, recovering from two goals down to head into second half stoppage time leading before losing 4-3 against Chelsea.

Salah’s 84th minute equaliser was nowhere near as late but represented another missed opportunity for a side whose faint Champions League hopes continue to fade by the game.

“Definitely (there are positives),” Mainoo said of Sunday’s draw with Liverpool. “I feel second half we pulled together and we figured things out and we were much, much better.

“But seeing out games is what’s going to get us points and that’s what’s going to get us higher in the table, that’s what’s going to win us games, so these are things that matter.”

Asked how important it is that the kind of standards driven into him in United’s academy are retained at the highest level, Mainoo told MUTV: “Yeah, 100 per cent.

“That’s what wins you titles and that’s what wins you games, having these standards, having players in the changing room that make sure the rest of the team keep up to them standards, which we do.

“And so, I feel like it’s just the little things that we need to iron out. That’s what’s going to help us win these games.”

Mainoo’s magnificent strike was his third of a stunning breakthrough campaign.

Having returned from ankle ligament damage sustained in pre-season, the 18-year-old has not looked back since making his first Premier League start on November 26.

Mainoo made his full England debut just four months on, with his man-of-the-match display against Belgium putting him in with a great chance of going to this summer’s Euros.

The United midfielder’s inexorable rise shows no signs of abating and he is trying to take it in his stride.

“Enjoyable, tough but it’s playing for my boyhood club on the biggest stage,” Mainoo said of the season to date. “To be able to adapt and to have these fans and everything around it, I mean, I can’t complain.”

Erik ten Hag says he does not care about speculation regarding his future as Manchester United manager.

A promising first season saw Carabao Cup glory followed by finishing third in the Premier League and runners-up in the FA Cup, but things have gone off track this term.

United face a fight for Champions League qualification as the campaign enters the final straight, with the stunning 4-3 FA Cup quarter-final extra-time win against rivals Liverpool breathing new life into the team.

A Wembley semi against Coventry is the reward but that result did not stop talk about Ten Hag’s future during the international break as ambitious Ineos consider their options.

England boss Gareth Southgate was linked to the United job but said such talk was “completely disrespectful”, although the Dutchman appears unmoved.

“You know when you are working at Man United there will always be noise, rumours around the club, the manager, the players, whatever,” Ten Hag said.

“There will always (an) issue – you like it, to talk about. Of course we have different interests, but we are not focusing on that.

“We are focusing on the process, we are focusing on the team to play better, to improve the way of play, so I don’t care about (it).”

Ten Hag came through intense pressure in the early stages of his time at United.

Having lost to Brighton in his first match after joining from Ajax, the Red Devils went on to suffer a chastening 4-0 away defeat to Brentford.

Ahead of returning to the Gtech Community Stadium for the first time since, Ten Hag said of the outside noise: “I was trainer at Ajax. Similar.

“You get used to it, so we don’t care. Players don’t care, I don’t care. We are together in the boat and we know we have to perform and get the right results.”

Before the recent Liverpool win, one of the only positives in a forgettable season was the development of youngsters like Alejandro Garnacho, Rasmus Hojlund and Kobbie Mainoo.

The latter was named man of the match on his full England debut against Belgium on Tuesday, just four months after making his first Premier League start.

Ten Hag had planned Mainoo’s opportunity to come far sooner, only for the midfielder to sustain ankle ligament damage in July’s pre-season friendly against Real Madrid.

“It was the plan, it was the intention,” the Dutchman said. “We thought he was capable of adjusting very quickly to high levels, so we had to delay that moment but for him and for us it’s good.

“Later in the season he proved that he can contribute highly to our team.

“We are happy we have a player like him who can really contribute and make us play the way we want to play.”

Ten Hag is hoping Mainoo is available to face Brentford having reported sick on Thursday.

“(Thursday) he skipped the training because he was ill,” he said.

“I don’t know (about Brentford) but of course we hope. (Friday) he is there, not fully recovered but we have still many hours I would say as we have a kick-off at 8pm.”

Mainoo’s performances have bolstered his chances of making England’s Euro 2024 squad but team-mate Marcus Rashford’s position looks more precarious.

“Of course he knows there is a lot of competition in his position,” Ten Hag said.

“And of course he will have a lot of credit because he contributes so many times fantastically for England and for us.

“Of course, he wants to be there but also he wants to win with us. He is in a position to win a trophy and he wants to be in the Champions League.

“Absolutely he wants to contribute and he wants to perform.”

Gareth Southgate praised Jude Bellingham’s never-say-die attitude after saving England from defeat against Belgium at the end of an international break that provides plenty of food for thought ahead of the Euros.

Among the favourites for glory this summer, the side third in FIFA’s world rankings stepped up preparations with a pair of high-level friendlies against the nations directly behind them in those standings.

Brazil are fifth and struck late on Saturday to inflict a first defeat on England in 15 months, which fourth-placed Belgium looked set to compound at rainy Wembley three days later.

Youri Tielemans opened the scoring after a Jordan Pickford error, with a Lewis Dunk mistake resulting in the Aston Villa midfielder scoring again after Ivan Toney had converted a penalty on his first senior start.

Fellow full debutants Ezri Konsa and, in particular, 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo also impressed in a friendly that ended 2-2 after Bellingham struck at the end of second half stoppage time.

“I liked it because I know the rubbish we would have got if we lost two games on the bounce,” the Real Madrid midfielder told Channel 4.

“These are two games that are going to stand us in good stead going into the Euros. I know people will be negative but you have to take these games for what they are.

“You’ve got to keep perspective. We had a lot of lads making debuts (this week) and a lot of lads I’ve never played with. We created a lot of chances. I should have scored (previously). I was happy I could make it up to the team.”

England boss Southgate told the post-match press conference: “Jude, of course, is the headline.

“That competitive spirit, that desire not to lose, desire to win in the end, was decisive in getting the late goal.

“But I thought the whole team showed that throughout the game and recovered from setbacks with a pretty inexperienced team, really, against a team that have got some very, very good players. Very pleased with a lot of what I saw tonight.”

Bellingham pulled the Euro 2024 hopefuls through at the end of a challenging international meet-up marred by injuries.

John Stones joined England’s eye-watering absentee list when limping off with an adductor issue within 10 minutes on Tuesday, when Mainoo’s man-of-the-match performance was among a number of impressive displays.

“The great thing is definitely some players have emerged positively from the opportunities they’ve had,” Southgate said reflecting on the Brazil and Belgium friendlies.

“We’ve perhaps got more depth in one respect, but the injuries are a concern. We’ve got so many players missing at the moment, and we’ve still got the real heat of the season to come, with the intensity of the games, what’s resting on the games.

“We’re not going to know what we’re left with until right until the end but we’ll just have to make the best decisions that we possibly can.”

Southgate praised Toney, Jarrod Bowen and James Maddison for their attacking impact against Belgium, while Anthony Gordon has also earned plaudits during the week.

Southgate has plenty to mull over ahead of announcing his provisional squad on May 21, which has to be whittled down to a 23-man group by June 8.

“In terms of knowing the 23, there’s so many unknowns at the moment in terms of who might be available,” Southgate said.

“So, yes, these performances were very important for players to be able to see whether or not they could play against high level opposition.

“But equally the way they play between now and the end of the season with their club, in big matches is going to have a high tariff as well so we will track all of that.”

Jude Bellingham struck at the death to salvage England a deserved draw against Belgium on a night of impressive auditions in the final match before Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2024 selection.

Three days on from the late loss to Brazil, the absentee-hit Euro 2020 runners-up faced another high-level test as the side third in FIFA’s world rankings hosted the team in fourth.

England were heading for another Wembley defeat after Youri Tielemans punished first-half errors either side of Ivan Toney’s penalty, only for Bellingham to secure a 2-2 draw in stoppage time.

Toney did well on his first start, as did fellow full debutants Ezri Konsa and, in particular, 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo in the final friendly before Southgate names an expanded Euros squad on May 21.

Kobbie Mainoo says a place in England’s Euro 2024 squad is the end goal after the Manchester United teenager’s whirlwind rise continued with a first senior call-up.

Long considered a future Old Trafford star, the 18-year-old midfielder has established himself as key part of Erik ten Hag’s side since returning from an ankle ligament injury sustained in pre-season.

Mainoo produced a man-of-the-match display as he made his first Premier League start against Everton in November and received his maiden England call-up just 114 days later.

Initially named in the under-21s set-up, he was promoted to the senior squad for the friendlies against Brazil and Belgium fresh from United’s jaw-dropping 4-3 FA Cup quarter-final win against Liverpool.

“It’s been a pretty mad couple of days,” Mainoo told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Sunday obviously was a great game and a great win, then to get called up to the under-21s obviously I was excited to come.

“Then getting down here and realising that I was with the first team was amazing.

“I was shocked and happy and it’s been a whirlwind of emotions.”

 

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Mainoo was told he would be going up to the senior side for training, but assumed they just needed a player for the session until he spoke to Gareth Southgate’s assistant Steve Holland.

The Stockport-born midfielder’s family were “buzzing” when he called to tell them good the news as his ascent continues apace.

“The games have been coming so fast at United I’ve not really had the time to think about it,” he said of the potential of a senior England call-up. “I have not really thought about it too much.

“Obviously I knew the international break was coming up, so thought about it a bit but, still, we had so many big games that I couldn’t really take my eye off the ball.

“But now I’m here, obviously I am taking it all in and it’s been amazing.”

Mainoo says his goal for the March meet-up are straightforward, saying “good training camp and two wins”.

Making his England debut is the personal goal on top of that as he tries to prove to Southgate that he is worthy of a place on the plane to Germany.

“Yeah, I think that’s the end goal for the season, to get into that squad,” Mainoo said.

“But obviously I’ve got to focus on club football in the meantime, and hopefully that’ll figure itself out.”

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