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Man United U23 boss identifies one player who is ready to step up to first-team

Teden Mengi has been backed as the next academy star to make the breakthrough into the Manchester United first-team.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has proven that there is a path into the first-team for youngsters impressing in the development sides, with Brandon Williams and Mason Greenwood establishing themselves as fully-fledged members of his squad this term.

A number of other youngsters, such as Ethan Laird, James Garner and Dylan Levitt are eagerly awaiting their next opportunity after being given a brief taste of action under Solskjaer.

But Under-23 boss Neil Wood believes central defender Mengi, who has only just turned 18, could be the next player to step up and can replicate the rise of Williams.

“Teden has been fantastic,” Wood told the Manchester Evening News.

“He came up to us quite early on in the season and, a bit like Brandon in a sense, he came from the 18s and took his chance. He played really well and he kept his place in the team.

“And when he dropped back down at the end of the season to lead the Youth Cup team, he put in some excellent performances there. We’ll be looking to work with him next season and he’s one [player] we want to ‘do a Brandon’ with, push him on and the goal is to try and get him pushed up into that first team if we can.”

Mengi captained United’s Under-18s to their first Youth Cup semi-final since the 2012 team that included Ravel Morrison, Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard before the coronavirus outbreak.

The Manchester-born youngster has made the step-up seamlessly to the Under-23 squad this term and was included in Solskjaer’s travelling squad to face Astana in the Europa League in November.

Alongside Di’Shon Bernard and Axel Tuanzebe he is one of the most talented young defenders at the club.

Mengi is blessed with natural leadership qualities and we think it will only be a matter of time before he is given the opportunity to shine in the first-team.

READ MORE: (Video) Largie Ramazani – The flying winger who could push for Man United first-team place

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