Teden Mengi has been waiting in the wings at Man United. Now could be his time to shine.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has himself a dilemma. Raphael Varane has been ruled out for a few weeks, while Harry Maguire still isn’t fit.
Suddenly, United are down their two best centre-backs for a crucial period in the campaign. Timing-wise, it couldn’t have been any worse for our Norwegian manager. However, the Baby Faced Assassin always seems to deliver when completely under the cosh.
Victor Lindelof came through his game for Sweden unscathed. There’s no doubt he’s next in line for the start. However, he needs a partner. Eric Bailly is consistently inconsistent, while who knows what stage of his recovery Phil Jones is at? Enter, Teden Mengi.
The young Mancunian has been on the fringes of the first time for eighteen months now. His talent level is off the charts, just ask Derby County manager Wayne Rooney, who had the defender on loan last term.
To date, Mengi has just one United appearance. That came in Europe. However, with Axel Tuanzebe out on loan, the young academy graduate could queue jump and skip right into Solskjaer’s plans.
Mengi has been training with the first team for well over a year now, with the emerging 19-year-old starlet definitely the surprise candidate to replace Varane at the heart of our defence, albeit only in the short-term.
The defender has bags of experience under his belt already, training with top pros day-in-day-out. On top of that, he plays for a manager who has no issue throwing young players into the mix. Just ask Mason Greenwood, Scott McTominay, Brandon Williams and many others.
I genuinely believe that Mengi should be ahead of Jones in the pecking order. This is a club that should be looking forwards rather than backwards. The defender has a calmness that Bailly doesn’t, too.
There’s a reason why Mengi hasn’t been farmed out on loan this term and that’s because Solskjaer must genuinely have first-team plans for him this season. Why not see what he can do right now? It’s a trust acid test for a young man with all the ability in the world.
Mengi has been chomping at the bit for his chance. Although games against Leicester City and the likes will not be a walk in the park for him, there’s only so much training he can do before game-time is an absolute must. We’re now at that stage.
Us supporters also have a job. The clue is in the name really, we have to ‘support’ players like Mengi. Mistakes in the early stages will be inevitable, but we have to get behind our young stars rather than berating them at every opportunity.
The good news for Mengi is that in every other position, United have bags of experience. He’ll have several players talking to him, coaching him in-game and ensuring he remains switched on at all times. That’s only a good thing for his long-term development.
I say he’s ready. I’m not the only fan with that view. Hopefully, Solskjaer offers the kid a chance.
Is Teden Mengi good enough for Man United? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.