Rooney in agreement with Solskjaer over ‘special’ Man Utd youngster

Wayne Rooney and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer agreed over Teden Mengi after the Manchester United youngster joined Derby County on loan.

The 18-year-old centre-back will spend the rest of the season aiding the Rams' Championship survival bid after switching to Rooney's side on transfer deadline day.

Former United striker Rooney hailed the young defender as "fantastic" – while Red Devils boss Solskjaer has previously compared him to Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt.

Mengi made his first-team debut against LASK in the Europa League in August, but has not made an appearance for Solskjaer's side this season.

However, he is highly rated at Old Trafford, and the United manager says the Championship is perfect for him to learn his trade after he captained the under-23s this term.

“When you get to that age sometimes it is not challenging enough, it doesn’t prepare him enough for that physical striker for example that they might meet in the first-team,” Solskjaer said.

“To play in the Championship is a great challenge for Teden.

“That is going to be good for him. Wayne has been a top striker and I’m sure he will go in there and show him a few things himself.”

Former United striker Rooney hailed Mengi, saying the youngster has "great attributes".

"Teden is a fantastic young player, someone who I have followed over the past year. Of course I have an interest in the young players at Manchester United," said the Derby boss.

"He has got great attributes which I feel can help us.

"He is quick and strong, he can play in a two at the back and in a three at the back.

"It is a great experience for him, and he is ready to come into the squad and be available to play once obviously the paperwork is done."

Mengi arrives at Pride Park highly recommended by Solskjaer – who earlier in the season said the centre-back was "special" as he compared him to De Ligt.

Back in September, the centre-back had skippered a United U21 side to a 6-0 win over Salford City in the EFL Trophy, having captained the U18s the previous season.

Afterwards, Solskjaer told BBC Radio 5 Live: "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. Brandon Williams did exceptionally well last season, coming in as a defender.

A defender or goalkeeper making a mistake might cost a team, a striker who misses a chance, it’s like, at least he was there to get the chance.

“Strikers can always win you a game with their enthusiasm, youthfulness, courage and no fear of failing.

"Defenders, you’ve got to make sure they’re ready because you can’t really know how they’ll react if they make a mistake.”

Mengi joins a Derby side who have won their last three Championship games under Rooney to climb five points clear of the relegation zone.

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