Timothy Fosu-Mensah made his return to action for United’s under-23s on Friday night, starring in a midfield role.
This was Fosu-Mensah’s first action in 12 months after suffering an ACL injury on loan or Fulham.
It was positive to see the Dutchman picked in midfield. It is the position he stands most chance of resurrecting his United career considering our lack of options at the position.
Fosu-Mensah was predictably a little rusty, but did show his quality with one box to box run which nearly resulted in a goal.
It is great to see him back. What comes next for Fosu-Mensah is key, and United need to take control.
One option for Fosu-Mensah will be to go out on loan. United should decide against this.
While there could be some benefit to letting Fosu-Mensah play elsewhere and get regular football under his belt, this can wait.
He is at a critical juncture in his career after just bouncing back from injury. United are yet to make a decision whether to trigger a one-year option to extend his contract by another 12 months.
United can better assess him if he stays at Carrington and works with the coaching staff.
The best way to salvage Fosu-Mensah’s career is to do everything different to before.
That means he must feature solely as a midfielder, to try and hone the position, and United’s coaching staff should develop him.
Working with top level players in training will help him, as will the tutelage of Michael Carrick.
United have to back the club’s own coaching staff to develop Fosu-Mensah, as opposed to another club’s.
Play for the under-23s
Fosu-Mensah’s game time should principally come for the under-23s this season.
If he proves he is ready for a step up, then the first team option can become available.
This will help give Fosu-Mensah some momentum at United heading into pre-season, where he could get a chance to shine.
As he is re-adapting to a new position, he needs minutes to develop, and is best doing that in familiar circumstances. Coming off a serious injury, United will have his best interests at heart, rather than a loan club only interested in the short-term.
Next season is huge for the Dutchman and this is where he has to focus. Everything until then is preparation. In the summer only, should the option of a loan be discussed.
If opportunities come sooner than that, then all the better, but he has to be at United to take them.
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