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Football’s Rising Stars: Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Manchester United have a proud history of promoting players from their youth system to the first team. In fact that policy has been so successful that the 20-time English champions have always had a youth team player at least on their bench – if not the first team – since the 1930s. That is a fantastic return for any club and it appears even more impressive in modern football where the emphasis is more on buying players than developing one’s own.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah is another addition to that proud Manchester United tradition. He joined the English giants from Dutch Eredivisie club Ajax Amsterdam in the summer of 2014 and has subsequently gone on to make his first team debut at Manchester United under the management of Louis van Gaal.

Playing Style

The one distinct feature of Fosu-Mensah’s play is his fearlessness while attacking the ball. The youngster is blessed with versatility and has been deployed as a defensive midfielder, centre-back as well as a left-back in his short career, but no matter where he plays, his game has been punctuated by a willingness to go for the ball and being unafraid of tackles.

More often than not he wins the ball and forays forward with impunity, showing his dribbling ability and attacking mindset. Instead of shooting from distance, as most defensive players have a tendency to when they get a sight of the goal, Fosu-Mensah has the patience and the awareness to spread the ball out on the wings if needed.

Future at Manchester United

The Old Trafford outfit have appointed Jose Mourinho as manager for the 2016/17 campaign after two years under Van Gaal. The uber-successful Portuguese manager often gets criticised for his unwillingness to give youth players a long run to prove themselves.

At Manchester United one of his first acts was to sign Villarreal defender Eric Bailley. In the given circumstances, the onus is on Fosu-Mensah to impress his first team boss in whatever chances he gets – and there could be plenty as the Red Devils find themselves in the long-drawn Europa League.

Prospects with the national team

The youngster has risen through the ranks of the Netherlands national team. He made his Under-15 debut in 2013 and subsequently went on to appear in age group squads up to the Under-19s, earning seven caps with them so far. His performances with Manchester United earned him a call-up to the first team for a series of friendly fixtures earlier this year; however, he is still awaiting his senior debut for the Oranje. With the Dutch team going through a difficult phase, and a restructure in order, Fosu-Mensah could soon earn his first senior cap.

Interesting facts

  • Primarily seen as a defensive player, Fosu-Mensah has also played as a number 10 for Manchester United youth teams.
  • His only goal at Manchester United has come in an Under-21 match against Norwich City at Old Trafford and was assisted by Memphis Depay.

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