Timothy Fosu-Mensah explains his learning in Manchester United’s midfield role

by Leo Nieboer


Timothy Fosu-Mensah has expressed a desire to replicate Michael Carrick‘s style in midfield at Manchester United over the next few years.

The Dutchman, who earned his trade at Ajax as a midfielder, made his Man United debut back in February 2015, featuring as a left-back during a 3-2 win over Arsenal before going on to produce a number of strong displays at the back towards the latter stages of the 2015/16 campaign.

He has, once again, featured primarily as a defender under Jose Mourinho but received chances to impress in midfield during cameos against Fenerbahce and Reading in recent months.

And when asked what trick he would like to master during his time at Old Trafford, Fosu-Mensah responded: “Well, not a trick but the understanding of the game that Michael [Carrick] has.”

“I would love to add this to my game. I think it comes with age and experience, though.

“When I came to United, some people said they’d seen a bit of similarity between me and Pogba when Paul first came here.

“Some people said I reminded them of him when I played in midfield.”

It is no surprise that Fosu-Mensah, a product of Ajax’s famous academy, has pointed towards Carrick as a footballing reference point.

The Premier League, on the face of it, does not seem like a place that could play host to a ‘Total Football’ style in midfield, but Carrick makes it look easy.

His style revolves around creating angles through subtle positioning and moving the ball simply in a way that has gone virtually extinct over the last decade or so. He is, in many ways, England’s last post-modern footballer: everything he does appears simple – basic, even – but its role in orchestrating United’s overall tempo is crucial.

Seeing Fosu-Mensah master a similar style would be not just refreshing for Total Football proponents like myself but indeed salutary for United’s future.

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