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18th Apr 2016

Fosu-Mensah doesn’t see his long-term future at rightback for Man United

He's been a revelation...

Mikey Stafford

That would explain why his head doesn’t explode when he goes forward.

Danny Mills said he wasn’t convinced by Timothy Fosu-Mensah at full-back, and it seems the young man agrees with him.

Well, sort of.

The 18-year-old Dutchman has made the right back berth his own after a slew of injuries in the Manchester United defence saw Louis van Gaal thrust the teenager into the fray.

He has been very impressive. All the more so when you consider he started the season as a No 10 with the Under 21s.

While Fosu-Mensah does not see his future directly behind the striker, neither does he see it at full-back.

“It’s a difficult question,” he told the club website when asked his best position. “I think I’ll just be keeping my options open. 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.”

He has been making the best of his lot so far under Van Gaal. The win over Aston Villa on Saturday was his eighth appearance for United since he made his debut at the end of February.

Along with the likes of goal-scoring hero Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard, he has been central to a heartening show of youthful promise during a difficult season at Old Trafford.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 20: Winning goalscorer Marcus Rashford of Manchester United (R) and team mate Timothy Fosu-Mensah celebrate victory after the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on March 20, 2016 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

It’s all the more remarkable when you consider he started the season as an attacker in the Under-21 squad.

“I had the pre-season with the Under-21s. [U21 manager] 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,” said Fosu-Mensah, who believes knowing how attackers think is an advantage for him now.

“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.”

If Van Gaal hangs around he might get his wish. He could be played as a lone striker a la Ashley Young, a creative midfielder a la Marouane Fellaini or a centre-half a la Daley Blind.

He’s in the best place to get an eclectic education.