Timothy Fosu-Mensah may harbour long-term ambitions of holding down a starting place in Manchester United’s first-team but this season, he’s been playing his football at Selhurst Park; a task that the man himself has enjoyed immensely.
Despite his relative inexperience, the Dutchman was brought in at Palace over the summer by Ajax legend Frank de Boer and thrown in at the deep end on the opening day against Huddersfield Town. As we all know now, De Boer was dismissed from the post after just five games, being replaced by Roy Hodgson but to his credit, Tim has remained a key member of the first-team set-up under the 70-year-old’s stewardship.
Blessed with blistering pace and fearlessness in the tackle, there is no doubt that Fosu-Mensah has the mindset necessary to eventually excel on the right-hand side of any defence, even though his game retains some elements which mark him out as being a tad raw.
He has been known to fly into challenges and leave himself exposed, a trait which can be ironed out of his game over time, with his parent club no doubt hoping that his stint at Palace will whip him into the sort of shape necessary to earn a place in Mourinho’s side from the start of the 2018/19 season.
There will always be a degree of frustration attached to loans like Tim’s from our perspective, given the sizeable hole they leave in the squad at the end of the campaign but thankfully, recent weeks have seen the emergence of our very own academy star in the shape of Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
The 20-year-old was put into the side against Tottenham thanks to a defensive injury crisis and performed so well that Hodgson had no choice but to give him another starting berth in our following game against Manchester United. Incredibly, Aaron took his game up a level against Mourinho’s men and has subsequently started against both Chelsea and Huddersfield, making the right-back’s position his own and leaving Fosu-Mensah biding his time on the substitute’s bench.
Whilst I’m sure Tim is frustrated by Aaron’s meteoric rise, it’ll be teaching him another valuable lesson ahead of his return to Old Trafford. He may go on to scale huge heights over the next few years but for now, he’s being forced to fight tooth and nail for his place in the side thanks to a lad who’s every bit as hungry to impress as him.
It bodes well for United and Palace in equal measure.