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It has been another season which has fallen below the lofty standards set by Manchester United teams of the past, but at least their supporters have seen the emergence of some exciting young talent.
Marcus Rashford has taken most of the headlines with his goalscoring heroics, but 18-year-old Timothy Fosu-Mensah has been making a name for himself with a series of impressive performances.
The versatile Dutchman has been used in a variety of roles across United’s back four to help Louis van Gaal plug the gaps created by injuries, most notably right-back against Tottenham Hotspur.
But Fosu-Mensah, who started out as a striker when a schoolboy at Ajax, has told United’s official website that he sees his future in a central role, whether that be in defence or in midfield.
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“I think I’ll just be keeping my options open,” he told ManUtd.com. “Centre-back or midfield, I think that is the most chance. However, as I’ve said before, wherever the manager wants me, I will play there.
“I had the pre-season with the Under-21s. Warren Joyce helped me very much, particularly in the aspects I was not so good at. He helped me on it and tried to make me a better player. I’m happy he has been able to do that. I played no.10 in pre-season and scored a goal from there as well so I was very happy!
“I think that experience helped me. As an attacking midfielder, you come into positions where you have to think and think as an attacking player as well. When you go back to being a defender, it helps you think how attackers think – about where they’re moving to and what they have to do before they receive the ball. So it definitely helps your game when you play in other positions.
“I think, when you’re young, it’s important you can play in as many positions as you can so, wherever the manager wants you to play, you have more experience in every role.”
However, Van Gaal appears to think slightly differently. The Red Devils boss has admitted that it is difficult to predict where the multi-talented Fosu-Mensah will end up.
But there is a reason, as well as injuries, that the 64-year-old has primarily use Fosu-Mensah at full-back. Van Gaal feels that the youngster has all of the attributes to excel there.
“That’s difficult to say because it is also the vacancy in the team, where we need a player the most,” Van Gaal told ManUtd.com. “You have seen this season that a lot of players have played in the full-back position because we have a lot of injuries in that position.
“So you cannot cope with it and then you give players a chance to show their abilities. Fosu-Mensah has played in the Netherlands in the youth systems at centre-back and also in midfield. I made him play at left and right full-back because he has the qualities to play there.”
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