Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United tenure might have been a total disaster, but it did teach everyone one thing.
No, it’s not that passing sideways and backwards leads to hero status, or that dramatically falling on the floor on the touchline keeps you in a job.
It’s that United have some serious talent in their youth ranks.
Marcus Rashford proved as such, but it’s another United teenager that’s catching the eye this pre-season.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah broke through to the first team amid United’s injury crisis last season, and has continued his push for a starting place this summer.
Coach Paul McGuiness has been purring over the 18-year-old defender, who won his first call up to the Netherlands senior squad in May thanks to his club performances.
Speaking about the talented youngster, McGuiness said:
Timothy really settled in during his second year at United. He’s got ‘wow factor’ pace and acceleration. I mean, really, his acceleration is outstanding, which can get him out of trouble when defending and means he’s quick to cover people.
It’s quite dramatic and the crowd have seen that on occasions when he’s suddenly burst past people.
It surprises opponents whether in defence or midfield because a big strength of his is to run into spaces.
With Jose Mourinho set to continue building his squad this summer, Fosu-Mensah was perhaps in danger of losing his squad place, but McGuiness’s comments show how highly the United coaches rate him.
The former Ajax youth star made eight appearances for the Red Devils last season and can play a variety of positions, including centre back and right back – a potential weakness for United in future.
Mourinho tends to go against versatile players in favour of specialists, but given his insistence that he trusts youth players and Fosu-Mensah’s impact, we could be seeing more of the youngster in the coming months.
United’s pre-season kicks off against Wigan on Saturday, before the squad fly to China for the not at all pointless International Champions Cup.
Fosu-Mensah will be hoping to be involved in the games, and prove that he can have an impact similar to that of Marcus Rashford, rather than fizzling out quicker than Memphis Depay.