It has been claimed in recent weeks that Manchester United’s academy has fallen behind that of other big European clubs such as Real Madrid and their neighbours Manchester City. Those claims were exacerbated last week when United’s under-18 team lost 5-1 to Chelsea in the FA Youth Cup.
However, the under-21s have been in impressive form of late and one of their stars this season has been Timothy Fosu-Mensah. He made his under-21 debut in August as United began the defence of their Premier League title with a 1-1 draw at Leicester City and since then Fosu-Mensah has gone from strength to strength.
There is a growing consensus, especially amongst supporters, that now is the time for the 18-year-old powerhouse to be called up to the senior squad and given a run of games in the Manchester United team.
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Why should Fosu-Mensah be in the first-team?
Fosu-Mensah deserves a chance in the first team because Louis van Gaal’s men are desperately crying out for an injection of energy and dynamism into their midfield and the young Dutchman can provide exactly that. Morgan Schneiderlin has performed pretty well so far this season but in the past three or four games Marouane Fellaini has proved that he isn’t good enough to play as a holding midfielder for Man United.
Fosu-Mensah started his career predominantly as a defender but his high technical ability and passing range has resulted in him being pushed into midfield. The versatile Dutchman is strong, powerful, very good at breaking up opposition attacks and reading the game; this has been getting better and better with every match that he plays.
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Fosu-Mensah, touted as the next Paul Pogba, is much better on the ball than someone like Fellaini but he also possesses the speed and athleticism required to get across the pitch and to be a genuine box-to-box midfielder. In addition to all that, United severely lack options in central midfield at the moment with both Bastian Schweinsteiger and Michael Carrick out injured.
Fosu-Mensah is by no means arrogant but he is well aware of how talented he is and just how good he can become. He might only be 18-years-old, but the former Netherlands under-17 captain is already at the level where he could be playing first-team football week in, week out.
There is a fear amongst fans that if Fosu-Mensah isn’t given a chance to prove himself in the senior team soon, like the aforementioned Pogba, he will consider leaving the club.
Will he be given a chance?
Say what you want about Van Gaal’s tactics but throughout his entire managerial career he hasn’t hesitated to bring through youth talent to senior level. He gave midfield legends Xavi and Andres Iniesta their debuts at Barcelona and so far this season he has called up the likes of Guillermo Varela, Jesse Lingard and 18-year-old defender Cameron Borthwick-Jackson to United’s first-team.
Fosu-Mensah has caught the eye of Van Gaal at the club’s AON Training Complex over the past few months and the United boss is believed to be a big admirer of the youngster. He has developed incredibly since joining United’s ranks in September 2014 and he has many attributes that the current United squad lack.
Fosu-Mensah is one of Europe's hottest young prospects, he is destined to succeed in the game and I believe that he is ready to make an impact in the Manchester United first-team.
Should Van Gaal give Fosu-Mensah a chance? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!