It’s safe to say that Manchester United’s UEFA Youth League side massively missed the leadership of Teden Mengi in the crushing 4-1 defeat to Villarreal.
The 19-year-old missed the clash against the young Yellow Submarine side due to an injury issue.
But the man who had a spell on loan at Derby County last season was fit enough to return and captain the club’s under-23 side to a 3-0 victory over fierce rivals Liverpool.
Mengi returned in a match that Anthony Elanga grabbed the headlines with another impressive display for Neil Wood’s side.
Teden Mengi presence crucial
United’s young powerful centre back was always going to find it difficult to break into the first team this season and that was even before the return to fitness of Phil Jones, and the summer signing of multiple Champions League winner and World Cup victor Raphael Varane.
A summer loan move failed to materialise for Mengi, but he saw Axel Tuanzebe and Di’Shon Bernard who was named man of the match for Hull City at the weekend, both depart after playing alongside the pair during United’s pre-season campaign.
But Mengi has a very different role, he is leading the club’s youngsters charge at under-23, under-21 and under-19 level across three competitions.
Our under-23s side has now won three times in a row and is up to seventh in the Premier League 2 table.
In the UEFA Youth League, similar to the club’s senior team, our under-19s currently sit third in the Group F table following the hammering to Villarreal.
In the EFL Trophy, Mengi will lead his side into a decider against last season’s winners Sunderland for the right to qualify for this season’s knockout stages.
Since making his first appearance of the season which was a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal for the under-23s side, in his last five matches across all three competitions, Mengi has conceded just once.
If Mengi can guide his teams into the knockout stages of the UEFA Youth League and EFL Trophy then there would be added weight to the argument of Mengi completing the full season playing in United’s youth sides.
But if we are not in either competition heading into the New Year, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a loan move sanctioned for the talented youngster.
With Mengi in the team, the club’s youth sides will fancy their chances of progressing in every competition.
His presence and experience from training with the club’s phenomenal forward line has already seen him become one of the leaders in the youth sides.
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