In the 21st century, the notion of big money spending and finances is certainly an overwhelming factor within the game of football. With hefty fees for players circulating around the 100 million mark now becoming an expectation amongst fans, it seems that many clubs have become so perplexed into the notion of recruiting big name stars, they are quick to forget about their own youth prospects. However at Manchester United, whose philosophy of playing the youth is closely embedded within the club’s DNA and traditions, academy players are certainly never far away from a chance in the first-team.
One youth player that has certainly been making a name for himself this season is defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who through a sequence of mature looking performances, has impressed fans during his time at Crystal Palace so far this season. Despite having been in and out of the side during the first stage of the season, the Dutchman now looks to have established that right-back spot as his own, having started the last three Premier League games in a row, including a man of the match display against Manchester City, a performance that certainly had United fans smirking across social media.
Through the energetic and solid performances shown, United have fans have even been quick to demand the young defender to be recalled back to the club this month, with many fans believing that he is already a solid option to have alongside veteran Antonio Valencia. However, the decision to loan Fosu-Mensah out this season all appears to be a part of Jose Mourinho’s elaborate plan for the youngster, who looks to be developing and looking more comfortable on the field with every game he plays.
After receiving a brief feel of first team action for United, the loaning out of Fosu-Mensah to a club where he is guaranteed more minutes was undoubtedly a pragmatic decision from both the player and manager, with the Dutchman now becoming more suited and familiar to the Premier League style of play, at a quick but steady pace. Despite being a rather versatile player, capable of operating as even a centre-half or holding midfielder, the impressive performances at right-back and the defensive maturity showcased by Fosu-Mensah will certainly act as a reassuring sight for United fans, who are tipping him to be Valencia’s long term replacement.
The right-back spot at United is currently a rather depleted area, as whilst Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones can be utilised as satisfactory makeshift options there, Valencia is currently the only quality and natural option for the spot. Although the Ecuadorian is still consistently performing at a high level, he will turn 33 by the beginning of next season and thus will certainly benefit from having Fosu-Mensah to rotate with. If the Dutchman continues to impress whilst on loan at Palace, a club that seemed to have turned a corner in their own season, the path into United’s first team certainly appears a smooth one to go down. In theory, after a year’s experience within the Premier League, alongside another year as Valencia’s understudy, there is hope that Fosu-Mensah could in fact cement that right-back spot at United for years to come.