Manchester United may have signed several players in the summer but this shouldn’t stop them from promoting players from the academy.
Last season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave eight academy players their first-team debuts for the Red Devils, equalling a club record set by Sir Matt Busby.
Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba have established themselves as regular starters in recent years whilst fellow academy graduates Brandon Williams, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay and Tahith Chong have also made appearances.
And that’s without even mentioning Axel Tuanzebe, Ethan Laird and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
It’s fair to say Solskjaer has shown that he is willing to put his faith in the club’s homegrown players.
Could young centre-back Teden Mengi be give a chance to shine?
Man United were apparently in the market for a new centre-back before the transfer window closed – but to no avail.
Solskjaer’s side then suffered a humiliating 6-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at home in part due to an error-strewn defensive performance from Harry Maguire.
However, the club captain can’t be the only one to blame, as Eric Bailly was also poor in that game too and Mengi could be the answer to all of United’s problems at the back.
The 18-year-old has been promoted to the senior squad, although he is yet to make an appearance for the first team this term.
He has been a standout performer for United’s U18s, and made several appearances for the U23s as well, receiving praise from Neil Wood in the process.
“He came up to us quite early on in the season and, a bit like Brandon [Williams] in a sense, he came from the U18s and took his chance,” Wood told The Manchester Evening News.
“He played really well and he kept his place in the team.
“And when he dropped back down at the end of the season to lead the Youth Cup team, he put in some excellent performances there.
“We’ll be looking to work with him next season and he’s one we want to ‘do a Brandon’ with, push him on and the goal is to try and get him pushed up into that first team if we can.”
Mengi made his United debut in the 2-1 win over LASK in the Europa League last season, winning 100% of his ground duels, whilst registering one tackle, one interception and a pass accuracy rating of 83%, as per SofaScore.
There have even been reports suggesting that the club did not sign a new centre-back not just because they couldn’t sell Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones but because of “how much Solskjaer rates Mengi.”
So, in Mengi, United may have the next Rio Ferdinand on their hands.
Although he wasn’t an academy product, Ferdinand himself was fast-tracked through the football system, earning his first Premier League start with West Ham United at the age of 17 after he came on as a substitute for Tony Cottee.
Standing at 1.83m tall, Mengi is cut from a similar cloth to Ferdinand, who was known for his technical ability and confidence on the ball.
When he arrived at Old Trafford from Leeds United, he became Britain’s most expensive player, costing Sir Alex Ferguson’s side £30m, which was a British record at the time.
Whether Mengi can even come lose to emulating a club legend like Rio remains to be seen but there are some obvious similarities.
AND in other news, Man United could live to regret their decision to sign Edinson Cavani…