September 25, 2021

‘Just the start’ – Man Utd debutant Mengi savours bittersweet Old Trafford appearance

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The young defender is eager to kick on after playing his first senior game for the Red Devils

Manchester United defender Teden Mengi declared his debut was “just the start” after featuring in the club’s 2-1 Europa League win over LASK.  

Mengi, 18, replaced Timothy Fosu-Mensah with six minutes remaining on Wednesday night and didn’t look out of place under the bright lights of Old Trafford. 

The promising centre-back savoured his first chance to impress Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and seems intent to continue making progress at the club. 

“It’s a great feeling. I’d like to thank everyone around me. My family, my teammates and everyone in the first-team made it very easy for me,” Mengi told MUTV after making his debut.

“The academy staff as well as the manager who gave me the opportunity. It’s just the start. It’s down to myself to keep kicking on but I’m very happy with it.

“Of course, everyone dreams of this moment. It’s everyone’s dream – to represent the biggest club in the world. Luckily enough, I got the chance today and I’m really chuffed with it.

“Everyone was telling me before the game and during half-time to be ready and that’s what I did. Everyone was saying: ‘Come on Teden, this is your moment now’.” 

Mengi’s debut was somewhat bittersweet however with his mum unable to attend the match due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

“It’s a big shame really because my mum pestered me all the time. She said: ‘If you ever make your debut at Old Trafford, I’ll be there watching you’. It’s a shame she couldn’t be here but it’s the moment of my life. But it’s time to kick on,” he said.

“I’m hungry for more definitely. Then again, it’s just the start for me as a player. I need to keep kicking on, keep developing, keep the same attitude in training and everything I can do. Then I’ll hopefully get more opportunities.

“Of course, watching Brandon [Williams], we both play in defence. When I saw him kicking on, it made me even hungrier. I thought ‘why can’t I do it?'”

Asked about Mengi post-game, Solskjaer told BT Sport: “He is a leader, a centre-back, someone we believe in, he’s strong, quick, good on the ball and I think we’ve got a decent player there.”