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Highly-rated Manchester United defender Teden Mengi has been handed a new squad number of 43 for the new Premier League season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side stepped up preparations for their competitive start with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa.
In the behind-closed-doors match at Villa Park, the hosts ran out winners courtesy of an Ollie Watkins goal.
United were missing many of their stars, but did hand a debut to new signing Donny van de Beek, while Mengi starred in defence.
Solskjaer singled out the 18-year-old for praise following the pre-season defeat, labelling his performance as one of the main positives of the run out.
"The result wasn't the main thing," Solskjaer told MUTV. "Some positives, as well though: some good positives, some individual positives.
"I thought Deano showed his authority back there and he plays as a proper Man United keeper, especially second-half, [and] you see Teden when he comes on what an exciting prospect he is."
Prior to the game with Villa, the United boss had hinted that Mengi could be ready for more chances with the first-team.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "We always had that in the back of our minds that our academy will provide players and Teden has definitely impressed me. It’s different trusting defenders on the big stage, of course it is.
"You’ve got to make sure he’s ready for it, you see examples of Ajax, who play in a different league, but Matthijs de Ligt… they made him captain when he was 18. You can see something special in them. Teden’s got something special in him. It’s about picking the right moment to give him a chance."
Mengi has already impressed for the Under-21 side, captaining the side to a 6-0 win over League Two Salford City in the EFL Trophy.
And that form looks likely to see him involved with the senior squad, with his new shirt number representing a significant upgrade on the 71 he was given last term.
The defender made his debut for the senior side last season, with Solskjaer handing him a chance against LASK Linz in the Europa League.
- Europa League
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- Premier League
- Manchester United FC
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