Raphael Varane thinks Man Utd have another Kobbie Mainoo who could replace him | Football | Sport

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Manchester United defender Raphael Varane believes Willy Kambwala could be the next academy wonderkid to follow Kobbie Mainoo‘s steps and become a first-team regular.

The 19-year-old is understood to have made quite the impression on Erik ten Hag and the senior squad and has already been rewarded with FA Cup and Premier League minutes this season. At the height of United’s injury crisis back in December, the youngster was thrust into the first team when they travelled to West Ham.

Although United ended up losing that match 2-0, fans were quick to heap praise on Kambwala, who showed the composure and confidence of a player capable of reaching the very top. That is certainly what Varane seems to think anyway, with the experienced Frenchman hinting that he could one day replace him in the side.

Speaking about his compatriot, Varane said: “He is showing his qualities. I think he will play more matches in the future and continue to improve. He is very young, but he is showing his qualities and we trust him. He has a great future.”

The former Real Madrid man’s future at Old Trafford has been a big topic of debate this season after he briefly lost his place in the side. Saudi Arabian clubs circled at the time and will likely try to explore a move for him again in the summer. Should the four-time Champions League winner decide to upsticks, it seems as though United already have a ready-made replacement in Kambwala.

The teenager stands at 6ft 4in and has the required physical profile to thrive in the Premier League. He is tailor-made to suit the modern game too, given he is very comfortable on the ball and passing out from the back. Ten Hag has already shown he is ready to put his faith in youngsters, overseeing Mainoo’s rise from the academy to the first team and establishing Alejandro Garnacho as a key player in attack.

All signs suggest that Kambwala could be the next one off the conveyor belt to step up and become an important player for the United boss.

The Dutchman is clearly a fan and highlighted as much with his comments on the player ahead of the match against West Ham back in December. “He’s calm, he’s made a good impression in training,” Ten Hag told TNT Sports. “Of course he’s inexperienced and this is a big moment for him. He’s athletic, calm on the ball, he has his opportunity now.”

Varane and Ten Hag are not the only ones to wax lyrical about the Frenchman, with an Old Trafford legend also heaping praise on him. Kambwala, who spent time at the same Les Ulis academy as Patrice Evra, received the backing from the former Red Devils left-back.

Earlier this season, Kambwala said that Evra served as an inspiration to him after seeing his shirt among some other big-name players to have emerged out of Les Ulis. Evra soon replied, writing on Instagram: “That’s all we asked, passion and love. Well done Wills, I’m proud of you.”

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