Timothy Fosu-Mensah is training as part of Manchester United’s squad and could become the team’s big winner from the delayed season.
The Dutchman has not played all season after spending much of it recovering from a torn ACL sustained on loan at Fulham last year.
He played two under-23 games in 2020, and was beginning to work his way towards the first team picture before the season was halted.
Now Fosu-Mensah has had extra time to build up his fitness levels and catch up to his teammates.
The Premier League confirmed a rule change this week which means five substitutes will be permitted per game.
Just as important, teams will be allowed to name a nine-man bench, rather than seven.
This helps Fosu-Mensah, as one of his toughest challenges is simply making it into United’s matchday squads, now comprised of 20 players rather than 18.
Fosu-Mensah can play in a variety of roles, as a full-back, midfielder, or even an emergency centre-back. Having this extra cover helps United. He won’t make every matchday squad, but he may make some.
It’s unclear which specific role Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has earmarked for Fosu-Mensah, as he has never played under him, but he evidently has a plan, as the 22-year-old is training each day with the rest of the first team.
Fosu-Mensah signed a new contract extension in April, to roll his deal over for another year.
The youngster is a big talent, who has seen much of his career wasted since Louis van Gaal left, the manager who handed him his debut.
The star clocked the fastest speed in the Premier League last season on loan with Fulham, which highlights his athleticism and one of the attributes he can bring to this United team.
We are not expecting Fosu-Mensah to have a big role when the league returns, but he could have ‘a role’ and that is a significant step forward for him.
Just having the opportunity and a fresh start is all he can ask for, and he has to seize it, when and if the time comes.
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