Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has disclosed that Manchester United defender, Axel Tuanzebe has impressed more than he expected.
The academy graduate was on the bench for the Premier League opener against Chelsea where the Red Devils secured an all-important 4-0 win to begin their season on a strong note.
Tuanzebe’s return from a successful season-long loan at Aston Villa has contributed to the selection dilemma facing Solskjaer.
The 21-year-old defender impressed on United’s pre-season tour and seems ready to compete with more experienced team-mates for minutes on the pitch.
The Manchester United boss admitted the Academy graduate has exceeded his expectations so far, after featuring alongside Jones and Lindelof during the summer friendlies. “Pre-season was a great chance for Axel to show what he’s capable of,” said Ole at his pre-match press conference.
“I saw him play at Villa, and we’ve seen him in midfield here and at right-back, but I wanted to see him next to Victor, next to Phil, and we know he’s going to be a big, big part of this club in the future,” the 1999 Treble hero revealed.
He probably impressed me more than I expected, so that’s why he was on the bench [against Chelsea] and he’s very capable of playing in different positions too,” Solskjaer concluded.
Although Tuanzebe’s preferred position is at centre-back, but he can also play as a right-back, and has featured as a holding midfielder for Man United reserves and for Aston Villa where he has played on loan.
His playing style has been compared to that of teammate Eric Bailly and Bayern Munich’s Javi Martínez. the defender impressed greatly on his first-team debut in a friendly against Wigan Athletic in July 2016 causing manager José Mourinho to remark, “10 minutes is enough! The potential is there, you see it immediately.”
Manchester United will take on Wolves in their Premier League encounter on Monday night and Tuanzebe is likely to retain his position on the bench with Maguire and Lindelof likely to get the nod ahead of him. The Red Devils would be hoping to secure a win that will see them go top of the Premier League table.