Mengi and Williams state their first-team hopes
Manchester United defensive pair Teden Mengi and Brandon Williams have spoken of their desire to build on the memorable first-team experiences they’ve already had, with both hoping to be involved in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup tie away to Luton Town.
The young duo sat down with MUTV’s Mark Sullivan on Monday to reflect on their learnings with the Reds to date.
Looking back on his debut for the club in last season’s Carabao Cup win over Rochdale, Williams recalled:
“It will always be a memory I have for the rest of my life. I remember being on the bench and one of the players got injured and the manager told me to warm up because I was coming on at half-time and I started getting excited.
“Everyone always asks me if was I nervous but I think the excitement took over to be honest. I just went on there and did what I had to do. The game got a bit nervy when it went to penalties but we ended up getting the win. Going from being in the stands to on the pitch is something I’m very proud of and having all my family in the stands made it even more so.
“I take everything from the last year as a positive for myself and I just want to try to kick on now and go again. I want keep on working on what I was working on last year and keep on improving on my weaknesses.”
Mengi made his Reds’ bow in the Europa League victory over LASK at Old Trafford last season, having impressed for both United’s U18s and U23s.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke in glowing terms about the defender’s potential after the 18-year-old got some more first-team minutes under his belt in our recent pre-season friendly against Aston Villa and the man himself is desperate for more.
“I’ve seen a massive improvement in my game, even just from watching the players and watching how everyone else does things and how I do things,” he explained, when asked how it’s been to train and play with the senior team.
“It’s a lot faster and quicker. Everything is bigger, there’s bigger, more physical players. You’ve got to adapt quickly but it’s really good because you can learn a lot from the players around you which is good for me as I’m really young in the game. I’ve found it really beneficial for me.
“It was a real good feeling,” he added, as he discussed his debut at Old Trafford.
“I think anyone who is about to make their debut for United would have a little bit of butterflies, but when I came on it was a really great feeling because I’ve been watching the team since I was a kid. It was a real proud moment.”
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Mengi also praised our captain, Harry Maguire, for the help he’s given him so far, as well as Williams.
“Harry in particular [has been great to me],” he said.
“He’s really vocal and really specific in what he does and I can always turn to him for help if I’m struggling with anything. I’ve found that really good. And Brandon has helped me settle through anything throughout my time at the club and he made it really easy for me when I made my step up from U23s to the first team.”
Williams says he was more than happy to help Mengi settle in and adds that all the Academy graduates support each other.
“Teden has helped himself as well by talking to everybody, the more you communicate the more you get to know somebody,” revealed Brandon.
“It’s much easier to go into a group and stay in the shadows and just watch everything, but Teden gets involved and that’s made it easier for him.
“There’s obviously me and Mason and all the other boys who have been here for a very long time and we’re a group and a team. Everyone knows what everyone has been through at this club and what it takes to get into the first team and knows what hard work everyone has put in.
“I know what Teden has done throughout the years and the likes of Marcus and Jesse as well. We’re trying to keep it going and we’re role models for the players who are below us in the younger ages in the Academy and Marcus and Jesse are the younger role models for us who have done it and who we look to.”