Jose Mourinho has already set about to silence his critics and prove that he will place faith in youth during his time at Manchester United. The Portuguese manager currently possesses a depleted squad due to many of his players being involved in Euro 2016 and the Copa America.
Manchester United will face off against Wigan on 16th July 2016 at the DW stadium, in what will be his first match in charge of the club. However, for this game he will be without; Matteo Darmian, Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Paddy McNair and Marcos Rojo who all were involved with their respective international teams over the course of the summer. As a result of this, ‘The Special One’ has turned to the famous United academy and will promote defenders Axel Tuanzebe and Tyrell Warren to the first team for the first pre-season friendly ahead of the two-game trip to China. Mourinho has revealed that the two youngsters who were promoted to the first team have been done so at the recommendation of Nicky Butt.
“I don’t know them well but I just trust Nicky Butt, [head of football development] John Murtough and the structure’s judgement, when they say we have a few players who, in a couple of years, can be first-team players.”
Axel Tuanzebe is one hell of a defender, who is composed on the ball and possesses great technical ability. Tuanzebe was unlucky last season as he suffered an injury setback early in the season, which restricted him to making just 10 appearances in the Under 21’s last season. Louis Van Gaal clearly saw a spark in Tuanzebe as he was one of the first academy players to be handed a first team chance by Van Gaal when he was placed on the substitutes bench for the away victory against Crystal Palace back in October and then again for the away defeat to Bournemouth.
Tyrell Warren is still only 17 years old and lacks the same level of experience that Tuanzebe possesses as he has only made five appearances for Warren Joyce’s Under 21’s, with four of his appearances coming off the bench. Warren, however, was fundamentally involved with the Under 18’s and Under 19’s last season, making 30 appearances for the two teams combined. Warren is a different style of defender to Tuanzebe, the best way that I would describe Warren is the typical no-nonsense defender who likes to get stuck in and let the striker know that he is there from the first whistle of the game.
Whilst it is positive that Mourinho is already placing faith in youth, I do however find it very unlikely that either of these two young defenders will be heavily involved with the first team next year. Jose Mourinho likes to play experiences defenders who he knows that he is certain he can trust. With Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo all experienced international defenders at the club it could be difficult for the duo to force their way into the first team, especially with the arrival of Eric Bailly this summer. But both have the potential to be first team regulars within the next few seasons, the futures of Jones, Rojo and Blind are all uncertain at the club, so if Warren and Tuanzebe impress during pre-season then they could find themselves being called upon earlier than they expected.