Fosu-Mensah plays down injury scare

Timothy Fosu-Mensah has played down fitness concerns after appearing to pick up an injury in the Netherlands Under-19s game with Northern Ireland on Saturday.

The Manchester United defender was taken off at half-time of his country’s 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifying win after colliding with Motherwell’s Ben Hall.

But Fosu-Mensah insists his substitution was planned before the game and that he was not seriously hurt.

“When it’s 50-50, then you have to go all the way,” he told Goal in an exclusive interview. “But I’ve got the feeling that I have more pain than he has.

“I already had some hip complaints and I spoke with the manager [Aron Winter] and we agreed that I was only going to play 45 minutes, with an eye on Tuesday against Poland.

“I’ll stay with the group and I’ll have some good treatment.”

Netherlands will qualify for this summer’s European Under-19 Championship if they avoid defeat against Poland, with Fosu-Mensah praising the talent in the squad.

“We’ve got a lot of good players,” he added. “For example, the players who play for PSV’s first team [Steven Bergwijn], Ajax’s first team [Donny van de Beek] and are almost in the Feyenoord first team.

“Everyone thinks the same: we all know what we can and what we are capable of achieving. The next step is to guarantee a ticket for the coming Euros.

“[On Friday] it was hard against a team with a lot of people behind the ball, but in the second half we played well. A draw against Poland on Tuesday and we are there.”

Since making his Manchester United debut earlier this year, reports in the Netherlands have suggested Fosu-Mensah could be called up to the senior national team.

And while the defender admitted he was delighted to represent United for the first time, he insists he is focused on simply working hard at both club and international level.

“I’ve no idea which Manchester United team I’ll be in at the end of the season. I’m just trying to do my best. I don’t mind which team, even if it’s the U18s,” he said.

“I have to make steps and I’m trying to improve myself. My debut gave me a great feeling; I was very happy and a lot of people reacted, like friends, family and also players of Netherlands U19.

“I thought: ‘Hard work will be rewarded’, but for sure I’m not there yet.”

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