Kobbie Mainoo remembers the journey from the pitches in Stockport to the European Championship for the English trio

Stockport’s football fields have become unlikely places where the skills of three of England’s Euro 2024 stars have been developed.

Phil Foden, Kobbie Mainoo and Cole Palmer all played grassroots football growing up in the region and the trio are now part of Gareth Southgate’s squad as they look for success in Germany.

Mainoo scored the decisive goal as Manchester United defeated Foden and his Manchester City teammates 2–1 to win the end-of-season FA Cup, before the pair joined as teammates.

Palmer left City for Chelsea last summer and enjoyed a fine first season at Stamford Bridge to earn his place in Southgate’s ranks.

“Yesterday we were talking about it, we mentioned all the local teams we played against,” Mainoo revealed when asked about growing up in Stockport.

“Also Cole Palmer because he comes from a similar area so we talked about all our starting sides. It’s nice to have someone who lives close to where I live.”

Foden has so far failed to recreate his club form on the international stage, but Mainoo is a big fan of the City man.

“On the ball, his first touch is insane,” he added.

“He is so technical and I think everyone sees that in the Premier League and also in the internationals.”

Mainoo came on as a late substitute as England opened their Euro 2024 challenge with a narrow 1-0 win over Group C rivals Serbia.

He competes with the likes of Conor Gallagher and Trent Alexander-Arnold for a place alongside Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham in England’s midfield, but revealed it could have been a different story after returning from a striker position.

“Growing up, I always watched strikers,” he replied when asked as a child who his favorite players were.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney celebrates his side's second goal of the match during a Premier League win over Swansea
Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney celebrates his side’s second goal of the match during a Premier League win over Swansea (Martin Rickett/PA)

“Because I was a striker for most of my childhood. I love being on the ball and playing indoor football. I always felt comfortable in tight spaces and like to turn with the ball.

“Obviously, Wayne Rooney, who grew up as a United fan, wasn’t so much just a striker, it was also Ronaldinho. I watched him on YouTube, but it’s mainly United players.

“I got a little frustrated as a striker. “I didn’t get the ball much and I like to be with the ball, so it was more natural to go back, play a bit of 10, then I played on the wing and recently I played in midfield.”