May 11th, 2020 | Football
The Manchester United academy has consistently produced top players. From the class of ’92 to high-profile break-out stars like Marcus Rashford and more recently Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams. I believe the current U23s and U18s teams are full of future stars. Today I’ll be focusing on promising centre-back Tenden Mengi.
Mengi is an 18 year-old centre-back from Manchester. He has also represented England at youth-level. This season he has broken into the U23 side and travelled with the senior squad away against FC Astana in the Europa League and was an unused substitute in a 2-1 defeat.
Mengi is extremely comfortable bringing the ball out from defence and possesses good footwork and accurate passing. He looks to have good pace but clearly bases a lot of his defending around anticipation, something he is very good at. I mentioned he enjoys bringing the ball out from the back and has on occasion made forward runs after doing so. An example of this is when he sprinted forward from defence after reading a pass from the Man City goalkeeper into midfield and sliding in to intercept. The ricochet from the interception found a Man City player who gave the ball away to Mark Helm. Mengi, who had remained in a forward position following the interception made an intelligent run behind the back-line and kept his cool 1v1 against the goalkeeper to score and make it 2-0. The goal proving to be decisive as United won 2-1.
Mengi seems very dominant in the air and imposing in general. I believe more time in the U23 side and possibly a loan-spell where he could play week in week out against men would help his development. However he has all the traites necessary to be a top defender and has the characteristics Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks for in defenders. Being comfortable on the ball, good range of passing, good anticipation and a threat from set-pieces. The manager and club obviously believe in Mengi as he signed his first professional contract in September 2019.
Please note: The football articles that feature on this site are being written by Jack Dixon as part of his work experience. He is a young teenager and looking for work experince within football journalism.