Axel Tuanzebe: Manchester United Are 'Willing to Put Trust in Me'

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2019

Manchester United's defender Axel Tuanzebe celebrates victory during the 2019 International Champions Cup football match between Manchester United and A C Milan at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff on August 3, 2019. - Manchester United beat A C Milan 5-4 on penalties, (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK / AFP)        (Photo credit should read GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images)

Manchester United youngster Axel Tuanzebe has said Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is "looking to introduce new energy" into his side at Old Trafford.

The talented centre-back revealed he met with the manager during the summer and that it was agreed the player would stay with the United squad rather than go out on loan.

Speaking to the club's app (h/t Dominic Booth of the Manchester Evening News), Tuanzebe said he thinks he will get plenty of first-team opportunities this season after a successful loan spell with Aston Villa:

"To be playing regularly for Manchester United and it is very, very possible this season.

"I think the manager has shown faith in me in the pre-season games, he has a lot of confidence in young players and the club is going through a phase of change, rebuilding a solid structure as well. This will be a great opportunity to grasp and get regular minutes at the club. ...

"There are always different pathways, but we had an in-house meeting with the manager and the coaching staff, and we decided it was best to stay here and continue my development here.

"I have always wanted to play for Man United and, especially this time around, it is a good time to stay and fight, because I think the manager is really looking to introduce new energy to the squad so it is the perfect opportunity to take.

"It is good, it is all part of the journey and it plays a part into my aims and ambitions for the season. And it just shows the club are willing to put trust in me, put faith in me, to continue and progress."

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 13: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, manager of Manchester United acknowledges Axel Tuanzebe at half time during the match between the Perth Glory and Manchester United at Optus Stadium on July 13, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kan
Paul Kane/Getty Images

Tuanzebe made his United debut in 2016-17 and has spent two loan spells at Villa Park, helping the Midlands club to promotion from the EFL Championship last season. The 21-year-old started 27 games for Villa last term and displayed his personal development during United's pre-season tour.

The Red Devils splashed the cash to sign Harry Maguire from Leicester City, spending a world-record £80 million fee for a defender. Solskjaer now has multiple centre-backs at his disposal. Victor Lindelof is expected to be Maguire's partner at the heart of the defence, but Tuanzebe, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo will all fight for a starting role.

Tuanzebe has been at United since the age of eight, and the player has a desirable blend of physical attributes and technical ability. Solskjaer recently described the defender as "the future of this club," and expectations are high for the England under-21 international this season.

Jon Super/Associated Press

United begin their Premier League season on Sunday, and Tuanzebe could be a surprise starter against Chelsea because Maguire missed the opportunity to feature for his new club in pre-season after his late arrival in the transfer window.

However, the coach could throw the former Leicester player in at the deep end against the Blues, one of their main rivals for a top-four finish. Even at this early stage, United will want maximum points and a confidence-building victory against Frank Lampard's team.


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