Manchester United youngster Teden Mengi could get the audition of a lifetime in the Europa League this week.
Mengi, 18, was called into United’s first team squad in June and was praised by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the start of last month.
While he did not even make the bench for the team late in the season, his big opportunity could come this week.
With injuries to Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones, Mengi is currently United’s fourth choice centre-back behind Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly.
The match against LASK is decided anyway with United 5-0 up from the first leg, so this is the ideal game to throw Mengi in.
Young teammate Ethan Laird could get a chance to start too. Both players are in our predicted XI for the fixture.
Mengi sent a very short message on social media last night, his first since July 11, suggesting he is looking to take advantage of his opportunity.
Mengi was on the bench away at Astana last November although did not make it on.
His development has accelerated since, turning 18 earlier this year, Mengi managed to get more under-23 football under his belt, while also leading the under-18s to the FA Youth Cup semi-finals.
In a coupe of those matches, against Leeds and Wigan, he featured at Old Trafford in front of a few thousand fans. So playing at an empty stadium on Wednesday night will hold no fears for him.
Plenty at stake
The match against LASK is a dead rubber of a game, but it has plenty of value for any young players who are involved.
Mengi and Laird are exciting prospects and if they have bad games, it will just be part of the learning process.
If they play well, then they may even get another chance in the Europa League quarter-finals, or at least make the bench.
It will also enhance their prospects for next season, and could even influence United’s activity in the transfer market this summer.
Centre-back is a position in which United could strengthen, but if Mengi can show he is capable of filling in now, then it is possible that the club will alter their plans.
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