Man Utd star compared to Matthijs de Ligt returns to club after Erik ten Hag appointment


Teden Mengi has returned to Manchester United training as he aims to build up fitness after suffering an injury while on loan at Birmingham City, where he played 10 games

Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag will work with a youngster predecessor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer labelled “special”

Manchester United have welcomed a familiar face back to Carrington as Teden Mengi has returned to the club, bringing an end to his loan spell with Birmingham City slightly ahead of schedule.

The promising centre-back, 20, joined the Blues for the second half of the season in January having made just one appearance for United in the months leading up to that point. Mengi played 10 games for Birmingham but a minor injury means he has arrived back at his parent club to rehabilitate.

The Manchester native would not have been ready in time for Saturday’s final Championship clash against Blackburn Rovers but could feature in United’s trip to Crystal Palace on the last day of the Premier League season later in May. A statement on the Red Devils’ official website reads: “The second-city club have kindly given permission for Teden to remain training with United, with our season not ending until 22 May, in order to regain full fitness.”

Mengi will hope to make a strong impression during pre-season and catch the eye of Erik ten Hag, who is taking over as the club’s next permanent manager this summer. Having joined United aged seven, the defender went on to captain teams at youth level and his leadership was earmarked as one his key assets by former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who handed him his senior debut in November 2019.

“Teden has definitely impressed me,” Solskjaer said in September 2020. “It’s different trusting defenders on the big stage, of course it is. You’ve got to make sure he’s ready for it, you see examples of Ajax, who play in a different league but Matthijs de Ligt, they made him captain when he was 18. You can see something special in them. Teden’s got something special in him. It’s about picking the right moment to give him a chance.”

Does Teden Mengi deserve a shot in the Manchester United first-team squad next season? Have your say in the comments!







Teden Mengi has rejoined training at Manchester United as he looks to build fitness
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Image:

Manchester United via Getty Images)

Solskjaer’s comparison between Mengi and De Ligt is especially apt as it was Ten Hag who named the latter the youngest ever Ajax captain at the age of 19. He would go on to seal a £67.5million transfer to Juventus in 2019 after leading the Amsterdam giants to the Eredivisie-Dutch Cup double.

In contrast, Mengi – who has been capped for England at Under-20 level – has only made two senior appearances for United having turned 20 at the end of April. The second of these came in December’s 1-1 draw with Young Boys in the Champions League group stage as then-newly-appointed interim manager Ralf Rangnick made wholesale changes to his team.

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