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Timothy Fosu-Mensah remaining patient and seemingly happy to be involved

Manchester United, a club notorious for its reputation of playing the youth through eras such as the ‘Busby Babes’ and the ‘Class of 92’ have always produced the best academy products in the country and it seems a new set of stars are on the arisen. In United’s last home game of the season against Crystal Palace, we saw the fielding of three full debutants and the inclusion of eight academy products (including Paul Pogba). One of these prospects was no other than the Dutch powerhouse Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who despite having 21 games to his name at Manchester United, is already becoming a fan favourite.

At the age of just 19, big things are certainly expected of the versatile defensive player as in his few selected minutes for the club he has certainly impressed. Fosu-Mensah was given his debut at Manchester United by Louis van Gaal in the 3-2 home victory against Arsenal and has since made 20 more appearances, which have predominantly been cameo roles for the side. Notorious for his physicality, pace and power, Fosu-Mensah certainly looks to be a very strong defender in the making and following his versatility of being able to operate anywhere across the backline and also in the middle of the park, he looks set to be a valuable member of United’s squad in a longer term vision for the club. In fact, many fans and pundits have speculated that he was a significant factor in Mourinho’s decision in letting Morgan Schneiderlin leave the club as the Portuguese manager is a big fan of Fosu-Mensah.

In some ways, however, many fans have been disappointed in the lack of game time that Fosu-Mensah has received this season (just the four starts and seven appearances from the bench) as he is very much a ‘Mourinho type of player.’ As a defensively minded and reliable player as well as possessing incredible maturity for his age, many fans perhaps would have predicted that the Dutchman could have started a few more times this season, particularly following the injuries suffered in the squad.

However, it seems that United are being very patient with Fosu-Mensah and this is something he is prepared to deal with as he is simply enjoying the experience. Speaking to the club’s official website regarding the Europa League final and his shoulder injury that he is determined to overcome, Fosu-Mensah states:

“The physios worked hard and I decided not to have an operation because of the final. We did a good job with the physios working hard on it and that’s what we’re going to do in the summer too.”

His decision not to have an operation purely so he could make the bench for the final clearly indicates the desire that he possesses to play. Most significantly, following Mourinho’s criticism of some players this season of not wanting to play through pain and questioning the mentality of those, it is clear that Fosu-Mensah is determined to work hard to break into the side. The young star also spoke of his joy of being able to play in the final league game of the season in which he described through:

“Fortunately, I could be in the squad for the final, after playing 90 minutes last Sunday, and it’s the best feeling I could have. You don’t want the season to end when you get the taste of it but this is the best way to have ended the season, with a trophy and Champions League football to look forward to next season.”

Although some fans are disappointed at Fosu-Mensah’s lack of game time due to their eagerness to see him flourish, it appears the Dutchman is certainly being patient and possesses the right mentality to reach his potential. Perhaps we can look forward to seeing a little more of Mensah next year but for the time being, he is clearly not getting ahead of himself.

Written by Joshua Gmerek-Iftakhar

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