Exclusive: Fosu-Mensah excited for Reds return
Tim Fosu-Mensah is ready to show how much he has developed since last pulling on the Manchester United shirt in the final game of the 2016/17 season.
The Dutchman, who turns 22 today [2 January], is back after loan spells with Crystal Palace and Fulham, but has had to recover from a knee operation that has kept him on the sidelines.
It has been a frustrating time for the Netherlands international as he is desperate to play for Ole and prove he can be an option in a number of positions.
“I feel good,” he told us recently. “It's been a long time out but I've had great people working with me, so I feel stronger every single day.
“The whole physio staff and fitness coaches - Paolo [Gaudino], Rich [Richard Merron]; they have been working with me very well. It's been good.
“It was definitely hard, mentally,” he admitted. “I love to play football but it's part of the game. You have to be strong in the head and it's a physical sport so, obviously, these things can happen.
“I do like to watch football, though, and like to see our team and go to every game at the stadium to support the lads.
“I think I might need one or two appearances to get my fitness back in the Under-23s after being out for so long. That would help me definitely.
“Of course, what I've seen is Ole is a great manager. When I speak to him, his energy is very good and, every time I go to the game, I just like him as a person and as a manager. I would love to play for him. You want to give your all for him.”
The defender feels he has learned a lot since he last played for the Reds, following the two loan spells away from Old Trafford.
At Crystal Palace, he was a colleague of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and is pleased to be competing for a spot with his friend.
“I'm going to be 22,” he said. “I made my debut when I was 18 so time flies. It waits for no-one. I've just got to keep going and keep improving. When I think about it, it goes very quickly - it's almost four years now [since my first game].
“I think my spell at Fulham was a bit more difficult for me but I had a good time at Palace. When I was there, I became an international at the age of 19, which is also a big achievement for myself. I think it has been good for me because I'm more mature straight away and it was physically good as well.
“I played with Aaron. He made his debut when we played together in the back four against Spurs. Aaron is a good player and a very good friend of mine.
“I can play across the back four or even sitting in midfield but it's always good to have competition. That's football - it's one of the biggest, if not the biggest, clubs in the world so you expect competition in the team.”
Fosu-Mensah is clearly looking forward to the next phase of his career as he expects to be back out on the pitch soon.
“I love this club,” he enthused. “I came here when I was a kid and they took very good care of me and made me a professional player.
“It's wonderful to play for this club. I don't want this to stop.
“I'm definitely excited for the future - I think it looks very bright.”
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