Timothy Fosu-Mensah was in good spirits after receiving a chance to impress in midfield for Manchester United during their 4-1 win over Fenerbahce in the Europa League.
The 18-year-old, with the game already settled, replaced Paul Pogba in the 75 minute and displayed great energy and composure in midfield, making several interceptions and tackles.
Fosu-Mensah was awarded with a new four year contract (with the option to extend for a further year) just a day before the clash with Dick Advocaat’s side.
Speaking after the game, the Dutchman was clearly happy with receiving a chance to display his worth in midfield.
“I’ve not played there for a long time,” he said.
“I’ve played there a lot for the Under-18s and Under-21s and it was a little bit different but as soon as I was on the pitch it felt good.”
It is often not recognised that Fosu-Mensah is, by trade, a central midfielder. His ascension through the ranks at Ajax’s youth system was predicated by performances in middle of the park, rather than at right-back. It is only through the Dutch side’s famous, Cruyff-esque total football approach that he was able to develop as a defender as well.
The reality is, however, that Fosu-Mensah was only used in defence as a form of back-up, and the 18-year-old would probably envisage himself as a midfielder in the long run. His powerful, assured performance during the game’s latter stages served as a convincing endorsement for more opportunities in that role this season.