All you need to know about the rising young star tipped to have a big career at Old Trafford
JOSE MOURINHO has tipped rising young player Axel Tuanzebe to make a first team breakthrough at Manchester United.
Mourinho gave the 19-year-old defender his senior debut at Old Trafford after deciding to bring him into his squad.
Tuanzebe has long been touted as a star of the future at United and now he is close to being given his big chance.
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SunSport gives you the lowdown on the latest product of the United youth system.
Who is Axel Tuanzebe?
Axel Tuanzebe is a 19-year-old footballer at Manchester United who is regarded as one of the brightest young prospects in the country.
He was born in Bunia in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but moved to the UK when he was eight after his parents emigrated to Rochdale.
Tuanzebe was accelerated through the United system and was first named on the bench for the first team when he was just 17 for the match against Crystal Palace.
Injury slowed up his progress last season but he did train with the United first team squad in pre-season where he first caught the eye of Jose Mourinho.
What type of player is Axel Tuanzebe?
Tuanzebe has spent most of his short career playing as a central defender, and is rated for his excellent ability to read the game.
At 6ft 1in there are bigger players, but Tuanzebe is still able to match up physically and his speed and agility has seen him develop a reputation for rarely having to make a tackle because he is so quick to spot danger.
He has also been encouraged to play further forward in a holding midfield role, and there is a belief he has the all round game to make a big impact in that position.
In his first year out of school he was named United youth team captain, with former coach Paul McGuiness saying: It was the first time I’d picked a first-year scholar as captain.
“I don’t think that has happened since Gary Neville was youth team skipper. Axel did a very good job, on and off the field.”
Tuanzebe finally makes United debut?
Jose Mourinho gave Axel Tuanzebe his first appearance in the senior United side against Wigan Athletic.
The January sales of Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay have created space in his squad so Mourinho decided to promote the youngster.
Tuanzebe was named in the squad which travelled to Hull for the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.
And he has been named on the bench for the Manchester derby at the Etihad.
Mourinho said: “We lost Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay, two players who didn’t play many minutes or many matches for us.
“They were two players from the squad, so we need numbers and probably Axel is one of the boys that’s in the Academy who is more close to playing with us.
“So we have brought him up to give him more experience, to make the first team more natural for him in case we need him to play in the upcoming matches and month, so he can be more adapted to us.”
Can Axel Tuanzebe play for England?
Having been born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Axel Tuanzebe is qualified to play for the country of his birth.
But the defender now has dual British citizenship after moving to Rochdale in the north-west of England with his family when he was eight.
Since then he has gone on to represent England at under-19 level and is available to the Three Lions in the future.