Manchester United’s U21s coach Warren Joyce has hinted that Timothy Fosu-Mensah‘s future may lie further up the pitch than he ever expected.
Fosu-Mensah arrived as a 16-year-old centre-back from Ajax last summer but was also capable of playing in the defensive midfield role having also played there back in Holland.
With Man United’s U21s, Fosu-Mensah has played in a few positions but it was in the attacking midfield role where he excelled in a recent pre-season friendly with his first goal at U21s level.
Although many see his future as a powerful and dominant defensive midfielder, it sounds like Joyce may see his strengths more as an attack minded player.
“He [Fosu-Mensah] is a footballer,” Joyce told ManUtd.com.
“If you’re looking for footballers, you’ve got to look at what their real strengths are.
“He played at the back for us and, in the first game against Salford, he was arguably at fault with their three goals. He could stay there as he’s played there and in holding midfield for his country, the Netherlands, but you have to look at his strengths and what else he can offer the team.
“We’ve got to hone his strengths as well so he ultimately he can be selected for the first-team.”
As Fosu-Mensah is only 17, his position is yet to be completely decided but having watched him on multiple occasions last season with the U18s and U19s, I think the deeper role is far more suited to him.
His powerful physique makes him such a force in that area at this level and maybe that would change in senior football, but it’s interesting to hear Joyce indicate he might be played in a more attacking role, if only in the short term to experiment.
In United’s academy there are currently a few stand-out players who really look like they have a chance of breaking into the first-team, and Fosu-Mensah is certainly one of them.