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Manchester United fans think they’ve finally got ‘De Jong’ and haven’t had to spend any money following Kobbie Mainoo’s first start

Manchester United may have missed out on the signing of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong – but fans think they’ve got the next best thing.

The Red Devils were snubbed by the Dutchman in 2022, despite the club agreeing a deal rising to £73million with the LaLiga giants.

United starlet Kobbie Mainoo has wowed fans following his performance against EvertonGetty

In the end, De Jong stayed put in Catalonia – refusing to depart the Spanish club in his quest to fight for his place.

And the United faithful are seemingly glad he did, as it has allowed academy starlet Kobbie Mainoo to break into the team.

The 18-year-old started his first Premier League match on Sunday, as he dazzled in the 3-0 away win at Everton.

Showing maturity beyond his years, the England youth international looked right at home at Goodison Park, earning plaudits from fans as well as pundits.

Taking to social media, one United fan posted: “Kobbie Mainoo. The way he picks up the ball from Onana and drives forward. We have our own Frenkie de Jong.”

Another said: “We spent a full summer trying to get De Jong for this reason. Mainoo has changed my life.”

A third added: “United has just found their own De Jong, Kobbie Mainoo. The boy is a talent.”

And this supporter messaged: “Who needs Frenkie De Jong when you have Kobbie Mainoo?”

United fans longed for the signing of Barcelona midfielder De Jong last yearGetty

But they couldn’t care now, with supporters raving over the exciting MainooGetty

Meanwhile another simply stated: “Mainoo is 100 per cent our De Jong.”

United boss Erik ten Hag gushed over the teenager’s performance in Merseyside, as he remarked: “He has a lot of abilities.

“It was a really disappointing moment in pre-season when he got a bad injury, for him and also for our team because I know he can progress a lot if he plays as he did today.

Mainoo was the star of the show

“I know young players can develop quickly. We thought it was the moment to bring him in. He did a great job. Now he has to build on this.”

As for club legend Roy Keane, he said on Sky Sports of Mainoo: “Unbelievable. Listen, don’t want to get too carried away but I’m sure we will.

“He looked like he always had time on the ball today. His decision making, in terms of when to go long, when to go short. Off the ball as well. What a phenomenal performance.”

Keane added: “Listen, good luck to the kid, he was outstanding. It’s a great start for him.

“Let’s hope he stays injury free, he gets a run of game for Man United because he looked like a Man United type player today. Nice and brave, lot of courage, I loved watching him.”