Timothy Fosu-Mensah delivered a solid performance at centre-back during Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Watford on Wednesday night.
The Dutch youngster was making his first start in the Man United first team after an imposing substitute appearance against Arsenal on Sunday.
And he continued in the same vein today, acting as a powerful and reliable focal point at the heart of defence. United fans were quick to shower praise on the 18-year-old for his role in ensuring a clean sheet:
Absolutely sensational from Fosu-Mensah. Such a young player but already very mature when one-on-one with a forward.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) March 2, 2016
Blind's shaky defensive performance has put Fosu-Mensah under a lot of pressure. All things considered, he's handled it quite well.
— Ryan (@ryjhnsn) March 2, 2016
Fosu Mensah has been immense. People on here need to chill about his tackling. He's only young and has held his own against Ighalo.
— Mexican Joker (@GrantMaskell94) March 2, 2016
This was far from the routine first start that was initially expected for Fosu-Mensah; Daley Blind lacked any conviction at the back for large parts of the contest; both fullbacks, Marcos Rojo and Guillermo Varela, were occasionally caught with the ball in dangerous areas; and, to make things even tougher, Watford caused far more problems than expected.
In other words, it wasn’t an easy first experience of a Premier League game. Some debutants are guided through by reliable elder statesmen, who alleviate pressure by taking control. Such was not the case for Fosu-Mensah; but instead of folding, the youngster battled tirelessly, resembling a safe and firm pair of hands whilst harassing Odion Ighalo all game.
United fans will be delighted with the progress of such a highly rated youngster, whose opportunity in the first team has seemingly come at the perfect time.