NIGERIAN teenage defender Teden Mengi has been elevated to the Manchester United first team ahead of the club’s weekend game against Sheffield United after manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer allowed four of his youngsters to train with the senior squad.
Mengi, 17, has already establish himself as a regular in the Manchester United under-23 team this season, forming a solid partnership with Di’Shon Bernard at the heart of the defence. He signed his first professional contract at the club earlier this season and came in for praise when he excelled in the EFL Trophy victory over Lincoln.
Born in Kaduna State, Mengi has already represented England at various youth levels but he is still eligible to play for Nigeria. He has regularly worn the captain armband for various Manchester United youth teams and so far, he is played in eight games for the Under-23s and three for the Under-18s.
In the run-up to this weekend’s league game, Mengi, Bernard, Largie Ramazani and D’Mani Mellor all trained with the first team bringing to 13 the number of players from the youth set-up who have gained first team recognition since the appointment of Solskjaer as manager. Many view Mengi as the next home grown defender who will likely break into the first team and establish himself as an Old Trafford regular.
If Mengi breaks into the Manchester United team, his international future is likely to become any flashpoint as Nigeria and England battle for his services. Over recent years, this has happened to the likes of Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi, Ola Aina, Dele Alli, Fikayo Tomori, Tammy Abraham and is currently happening with Queens Park Rangers midfielder Ebere Eze.