Teden Mengi is looking to use his first team experience to help push his teammates to lift the FA Youth Cup for the first time since 2011.

Mengi was a key part of Neil Ryan’s side last season as they reached the last four of the competition before it was halted due to the suspension of football, because of the pandemic, and in the meantime he was promoted to the first team on a permanent basis having impressed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Hemade his debut at Old Trafford in the Europa League versus LASK and since has been a regular in the first team set up gaining invaluable experience. The 18-year-old is hoping to use what he has learnt in the last few months to help lead United to Youth Cup victory.

“A lot has happened since then the quarter-final. I went on to make my debut for the club, which is good,” Mengi said.

“That’s a real confidence-booster for me, but not only for me, it’s brilliant for everyone else because I can take my experience and what I’ve learned so far backdown to the Under-18 team, so I think it’s positive all-round.

“Whenever I make the step down I just take what I learned there and make sure everyone’s doing the right things, preparing well, because it’s a big tournament to win.”

The prestige of the tournament isn’t lost on the young lads who are preparing for Friday’s game. United have won the competition 10 times before and it helped to launch the careers of many club legends such as the Class of ’92, and more recent winners include Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard.

Anthony Elanga, who missed the last Youth Cup games through injury, is hoping to add his name to illustrious list.

“Against Chelsea, it’s a big game. You know how much the FA Youth Cup means to this club. They’ve won it 10 times,” Elanga said.

“It’s a big occasion and we really want to get the final, and hopefully win the whole season. It means a lot. You look at the players that have won it before, the likes of Jesse and Pogba. You look where they are right now, so it is a big competition to play in.

“I’m just happy to be a part of it and hopefully we can win this whole thing. It would mean a lot for me, my team-mates and everyone around the club.”

While United have historically been successful in the competition they haven’t won it since 2011 while their opponentshave won six out of the last eight finals – butU18s coach Neil Ryan doesn’t believe that their recent lack of finals is down to a lack of quality.

“Previous different years we could have lost for different circumstances, to say there’s an underlying reason to why we haven’t won it for so long, it’s very difficult. It’s one tournament,”Ryan said.

“The proof of a good academy is the players who come through your system and play for the first team.

“Mason Greenwood would be available to play in this tournament but, we also need to remember that he is on the right path. It’s a reminder of how old Mason is that he could still be in the youth team, but he’s doing fantastic. Look at his goal the other night, that gives us more of a smile than trying to put Mason in the Youth Cup team.

“We have a healthy rivalry with Chelsea,it’s going to be an exciting game for us, exciting for all the fans and everyone watching and gives our players an opportunity to go and perform on a stage and it will be a test for them.”

While Greenwood won’t be there to help the U18s out, with the first team playing Arsenal on Sunday, Mengi feels like he belongs in the team that he captained last season.

“I was there from the start, so why shouldn’t I be there at the end? I wouldn’t say it’s a compliment, I’d say it’s a given,” Mengi said.


Source : goal.com


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