While United scout the world for the best young talent, the famous Academy has unearthed another future gem – Teden Mengi.
The Manchester United Youth Academy continues to produce top-quality players at the club with current young stars like Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood impressing the footballing world with their performances in the Premier League.
Manchester United’s youth academy has produced the likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes etc. and helped them become one of the biggest clubs in world football.
Mengi was born and raised in Manchester. He previously captained United at Under-16 level and signed his first professional contract with the club last September – a few months after turning 17.
Mengi has now represented United at three different levels in the 2019/20 season, beginning the campaign as Under-18 captain. At 17, he was very quickly promoted to the Under-23 squad and was a regular starter in Premier League 2 from late August.
He also returned to the younger age group occasionally to play in FA Youth Cup games, helping United reach the semi-finals before the competition was indefinitely suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mengi’s first-team debut in August made it three different United sides in one season, which is similar to the rapid rise of striker Marcus Rashford during the 2015/16 campaign.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been making loose comparisons with Matthijs de Ligt, the centre back who captained Ajax as a teenager before moving to Juventus for £67.5 million as a 19-year-old.
However, the young Englishman has several players to beat to make it as a Manchester United centre-back, with the likes of Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire all ahead of him in the pecking order.
“He’s a leader. A centre-back. Of course, he’s one that we believe in. He’s the age group of Mason [Greenwood], so they’ve grown up together as good mates”, Solskjaer said.
“He’s strong, quick, good on the ball, so I think we’ve got a decent player there.”
Under-23 manager Neil Wood described Mengi as an ‘excellent trainer’, adding that his natural confidence allowed him to rise up the from Under-18 level. He has also been described as a ‘perfect professional’ and used the lockdown to analyse his own performances with a video specialist, while he also recruited a personal trainer to improve his game further.
Mengi will surely get more first-team chances this season, while continuing to captain United’s Under-23 side in Premier League 2 and in the EFL Trophy.
Mengi is already noted for his good pace, an enormous asset against the Premier League’s rapid forwards, while versatility will ensure his chances of playing at centre-back or wing-back even more.
Such young players are rarely deployed at the heart of defence in the Premier League and Mengi’s consistency is crucial to his success in the big games. He has shown that his versatility plays a key role in his development as a United player and will be looking to continue to perform at a high level week in, week out.
“If it happens, it happens. It’s down to me to keep working hard and if that opportunity comes then I need to take it”, Mengi said in an interview.
Mengi made his senior professional debut in August against LASK in the Europa League and United fans will be hoping to see more appearances in the senior team this season.
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