Timothy Fosu-Mensah has been touted as a future footballing star and hence Manchester United couldn’t have picked a better time than last month when they offered the Dutch wonderkid his first professional contract, which he signed in order to complete his first senior deal with the club.
At just 17 years of age Fosu-Mensah is most likely to continue his development within the youth ranks this season for United’s Under-21 and reserve teams - but who is the young starlet?
Fosu-Mensah joined United’s ranks in September 2014 after impressing in the AEGON Future Cup competition for his previous side Ajax and moved to Old Trafford in the summer transfer window of that year.
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He’s played most of his football at centre-back and has produced some outstanding performances in that position; however, he is now starting to show that he is just as good in a central midfield role.
At Under-18 level Fosu-Mensah made 18 starts in his first United season and became a stand-out performer with multiple top quality displays.
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Despite taking some time to adapt to the culture of the club along with the nature of a different country and its surroundings, the Netherlands' Under-17 captain finished the 2014-15 season on the Under-21 bench.
And after training with them during the close season, Fosu-Mensah made his competitive debut for the Under-21s and played the full 90 minutes as Man United began the defence of their Under-21 league title with a hard-earned 1-1 draw against Leicester City on August 10, with Fosu-Mensah most notably making a crucial last-minute tackle to preserve a point at the King Power Stadium.
The Dutchman is a strong, powerful boy who is blessed with natural technical ability on the ball and versatility in addition to a tremendous range of passing as well as bags of pace and athleticism.
Fosu-Mensah was pushed into midfield in an attempt to develop other facets of his game, help the youngster to become more of a complete footballer and improve his understanding of the game. He is very adept at breaking up opposition attacks and utilising his speed to break forward which makes him particularly dangerous when deployed as an attacking midfielder.
With United’s reserve coach Warren Joyce currently short of central defenders due to the first-team success of fellow academy products Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett, there’s a real likelihood that Fosu-Mensah will burst onto the Under-21 scene this season.
Lots of football fans are excited to see what lies in store for Tim Fosu-Mensah over the coming months and years, and the youngster has several admirers including United boss and compatriot Louis van Gaal.
He seems destined to play for the senior side at some point down the line, but he still has plenty to learn so for the moment he must try to establish himself in the Under-21 team and maintain his progression.
There’s no doubt that this talented 17 year-old has a big future in the game.