Nicky Butt Tips Axel Tuanzebe for Manchester United Future After Loan Spell

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2019

Liverpool midfielder Mohamed Salah (11) controls the ball in front of Manchester United Axel Tuanzebe during the first half of an International Champions Cup tournament soccer match, Saturday, July 28, 2018, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Nicky Butt has said Axel Tuanzebe has a bright future at Manchester United after impressing on loan at Aston Villa.

The head of United's academy described the 21-year-old as "a talented boy" after he helped Villa reach the play-offs in the EFL Championship.

According to United's official website, Butt said he expects the youngster to thrive when he eventually returns to Old Trafford.

"Axel is a very talented boy, who I do believe is going to have a good career at Manchester United," said Butt. "There is no point sitting around not playing football and he's gone to Aston Villa, who are a big, big club. He got injured but is back playing well again now and now he has a few big play-off games coming up."

Tuanzebe was named Reserve Team Player Of The Year in 2016-17 after previously being awarded United's Young Player Of The Year, and he was given his first-team debut by former coach Jose Mourinho.

The defender was promptly handed a new contract that tied him to the club until 2020. The Red Devils can trigger an extra year in the deal.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 22: Axel Tuanzebe of Aston Villa during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Brentford  at Villa Park on August 22, 2018 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

United have conceded 52 goals in the Premier League this season, and coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is expected to restructure his defence during the summer, potentially opening the door for Tuanzebe.

The former England youth player can feature at both centre-back and right-back, and he has also played as a defensive midfielder due to his ball control, passing and reading of the game.

Injury has affected Tuanzebe's immediate progress, and he will have to retain consistent levels of fitness to become part of Solskjaer's immediate plans.

The defender is expected to start as Villa take on West Bromwich Albion in the first leg of the play-off semi-finals on Saturday.

A strong play-off showing could mean Tuanzebe is back in the Premier League next term, featuring for United as he takes the next step in his development.