Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he is considering giving promising young defender Teden Mengi a chance to impress in the first team.
Several reports have outlined Solskjaer’s willingness to invest in his defence before the October 5 transfer deadline. The Norwegian wants to find a new long-term partner to club captain Harry Maguire.
United were reportedly keen on Gabriel Magalhaes and Dayot Upamecano. However, the former has joined Arsenal and RB Leipzig intend to keep Upamecano for at least another season.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, though, Solskjaer opened up on his blossoming academy ranks by highlighting Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams as examples of players to have impressed since making the step up to the first team.
He added that he sees “something special” in Mengi which he could exploit in the upcoming season.
“Both Mason and Brandon will improve, even Marcus [Rashford] and Scott [McTominay], they’re at an age that they’ll improve,” Solskjaer said (via the Metro).
“Dean Henderson’s that age, he’s one of ours that’s going to come through. We always had that in the back of our minds that our academy will provide players and Teden has definitely impressed me.
“It’s different trusting defenders on the big stage, of course it is. You’ve got to make sure he’s ready for it, you see examples of Ajax, who play in a different league but Matthijs de Ligt, they made him captain when he was 18. You can see something special in them.”
SOLSKJAER URGES CAUTION OVER MENGI GAME TIME
Solskjaer insisted, however, that he must be cautious to pick his moment to give Mengi a run in the team.
“Teden’s got something special in him. It’s about picking the right moment to give him a chance. Brandon Williams did exceptionally well last season coming in as a defender.
“A defender or goalkeeper making a mistake might cost a team, a striker who misses a chance it’s like at least he was there to get the chance.
“Strikers can always win you a game with their enthusiasm, youthfulness, courage and no fear of failing. Defenders you’ve got to make sure they’re ready because you can’t really know how they’ll react if they make a mistake.”
MENGI A RISING TALENT
Mengi, who plays in the Under-23 ranks, made his first-team debut for United in the 2-1 Europa League win over LASK in August.
However, it remains unclear where his future at United lies, with other recent academy stars faring differently.
While Greenwood and Williams are now established first-team talents, Angel Gomes left having struggled for minutes.
Tahith Chong – while signing a new deal – is now on loan at Werder Bremen.