Teden Mengi was called up to Manchester United’s first team training sessions three weeks ago.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to see what the FA Youth Cup captain could do, having heard rave reviews from the academy coaches, and watched him in action.
Now after seeing Mengi, 18, train with the first team, Solskjaer says the promising defender does not look out of place.
Mengi’s first team path has been accelerated by injuries to Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones.
Solskjaer told the club website that Mengi is no temporary solution. He has seen enough to know that he wants to involve him next season too.
He said: “To have a few months’ training with the first team now, in the summer, tests him, and, to be fair to the boy, he’s deserved it because he is an exciting talent, but he was desperate to come in.
“He keeps in touch with the coaches and he was always ready when we asked him: ‘Are you ready to come in, are you fit enough?’ And he worked hard over the lockdown.
“He’s done really well, he doesn’t seem out of place, so he’ll definitely be more and more in and around the first team next season as well.”
As well as being a smart reader of the game, Mengi is already well developed physically, and does not look out of place with players far older.
He has not made any of United’s matchday squads just yet, but there is a chance he does so before the season is over.
The progress he has made is very encouraging. With Axel Tuanzebe experiencing another bitter injury setback which will keep him out until September, Mengi’s rise is particularly welcome.
Before this season, Mengi had not even made his under-23 debut. It has been a remarkable rise.
Next season Mengi may even have a chance of overtaking Tuanzebe, if the 22-year-old has yet another setback.
Having been given an opportunity, he is making the most of it. And he is also impressing the man that matters, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
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