Manchester United have some wonderful young players on loan right now. But few are as exciting as Teden Mengi and James Garner. And the duo are preparing to lock horns on Friday night.
Centre-back Mengi is currently on loan at Wayne Rooney’s Derby County, while midfielder Garner is impressing with Nottingham Forest.
Now the pair could face off in one of the Championship’s biggest rivalries.
Mengi is one of United’s most promising young centre-backs, tipped to be a future star at Old Trafford.
So far he has featured 28 times for United’s U23s, captaining the team despite his tender age. For the Rams, Mengi has played just twice to date and was an unused substitute twice in four days.
Yet he could well start this clash given his previous outings at right-back and in the centre.
Garner is making up for lost time at Forest. After a disappointing earlier loan spell, the 19-year-old heir apparent to Michael Carrick is excelling.
He played every minute of Forest’s previous five matches before being rested on Tuesday night.
Such has been his impact thus far that he should be back in the starting XI later this week.
United will certainly be hoping so. Garner has been hailed as the next big thing for a while and this season he can show why.
A fine end to the current campaign could allow Garner to show Ole Gunnar Solskjaer what he can do with United’s first-team next season.
The next generation
Whatever happens this week, Mengi and Garner are likely to be key players for United in the years to come.
They may not have broken through as quickly as the likes of Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford, but the future is incredibly bright.
Axel Tuanzebe’s ongoing injury issues mean Mengi could leapfrog his older teammate. While Nemanja Matic’s waning influence may see Garner seize his chance in 2022.
For now, the United youngsters will be fully focused on their upcoming Championship clash. It will be one Red Devils fans should watch with interest.
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