While the Manchester United board continues to disappoint in the transfer market, it looks like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has found a young center-back ready to step-up. Highly-rated youngster Teden Mengi has been promoted to the first-team squad indefinitely.
The Manchester born defender signed his first professional contract at the club last September and made his senior debut in the 2nd leg of LASK, as a substitute. Mengi joined the United Academy in 2016 and has largely featured as center-back, but has the versatility to play LB as well.
While the 6’0 tall defender is not exactly tall for a CB in the English Premier League, he is an absolute unit with the physicality of a player 3/4 years his senior. This, combined with decent pace, leadership qualities and “football IQ” are all reasons why he’s a player who’s been talked about at the Academy for quite some time.
The Gaffer’s View
Here’s what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had to say about Teden Mengi in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live:
“We always had that in the back of our minds, that our Academy will provide players and Teden has definitely impressed me,” said the manager.
“It’s different trusting defenders on the big stage, of course it is. You’ve got to make sure he’s ready for it, you see examples of Ajax, who play in a different league but Matthijs de Ligt, they made him captain when he was 18. You can see something special in them.
“Teden’s got something special in him. It’s about picking the right moment to give him a chance. Brandon Williams did exceptionally well last season, coming in as a defender.
“A defender or goalkeeper making a mistake might cost a team, a striker who misses a chance it’s like at least he was there to get the chance.
“Strikers can always win you a game with their enthusiasm, youthfulness, courage and no fear of failing. Defenders, you’ve got to make sure they’re ready because you can’t really know how they’ll react if they make a mistake.”
The shining star at the moment of Manchester United is the Academy, with Mengi following the likes of Rashford, McTominay, Greenwood, BDubs, etc. Ole will be sure not to throw too much pressure on Mengi too soon, nurturing the lad the same way he has with Mason.
Only time will tell how Mengi plays out, but it’s exciting to have another promising youngster breaking-on-through.
The Future is Bright!