Following the end of his season-long loan spell at Crystal Palace, Timothy Fosu-Mensah has thanked the club for giving him the opportunity to play top-flight football last term.
The 20-year-old defender made 24 appearances for the Eagles during 2017/18 after arriving from Manchester United, and his ability to play at both centre-back and right-back saw him handed 17 Premier League starts during his time in red and blue, helping to ease Roy Hodgson’s selection headaches as he dealt with an unprecedented injury list.
Whenever he was called upon, Fosu-Mensah showed quality and composure, and his displays for Palace even led to his first two caps for Holland during the campaign. He returns to Manchester grateful for his experiences during his time with Palace.
“I think it was a good season and I enjoyed it a lot,” he said. “As a young player you have to learn and you’re going to make mistakes, but Palace gave me an opportunity. It’s been great to play for a beautiful club like Palace in the Premier League – it was just amazing.
“I’ll always be thankful for the opportunities they gave me. The manager was great, as was Steven Reid and they helped me out. I played plenty of games for the club, and by playing games you’re going to mature. It has definitely helped me learn the tactical aspect of the game, and because of them I was able to represent Holland in August.”
The youngster was able to experience the highs and lows of top-flight football during his 10 months in SE25, enduring the pressure of the club setting an unwanted English league record of no points or goals from their opening seven games, but then enjoying the climb back up the table under Hodgson to ultimately clinch survival against the odds.
Highly thought of by Jose Mourinho at United, Fosu-Mensah is unlikely to feature in a campaign like that again next season, but the memories of his time at Palace will linger long and he admits that the Eagles will always hold a special place in his heart.
“Playing in front of the home fans at Selhurst was very special,” he added. “When we played against Chelsea and Manchester City at home, they were crazy and those are some very special memories for me. They are great fans because we struggled at the start, but they stood by us and that shows a lot about the club and the fans. I don’t think any other fans would do that for their team.
“I can always say that I played for Crystal Palace for one season and maybe one day I’ll be back at the stadium - you never know!
“I’m not sure what’s coming up for me next season, but I want to compete at Manchester United and try to play. I just need to keep focusing on myself, try and become a better player and keep playing games.”