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Luke Shaw is full of praise for Axel Tuanzebe and rightly so…

Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw has stated that he believes Axel Tuanzebe is a player who is capable of cementing a place as a central defender at the club in the future. Shaw has been left impressed with the Academy graduate who has been a part of the first team this season. Tuanzebe was praised by manager Jose Mourinho when he took over as manager in 2016 suggesting that the player had the talent to be a part of his plans in the future, giving him his debut in a friendly against Wigan Athletic, Mourinho’s first match as United manager.

It has already been stated that Mourinho may let Tuanzebe head out on loan towards the end of the winter window with Aston Villa currently interested in the player. Tuanzebe has made four appearances for the club this season, his first a start in the Carabao Cup against Swansea City in October 2017, a match United won 2-0 – then making three substitute appearances, one in the UEFA Champions League. It is clear Mourinho rates the player, pulling him from the U23’s, where he was the captain, and putting in the first team.

It has been said by Shaw that Tuanzebe will mature into a top-class central defender, which is his favoured position, although he has played as a right-back, on the left of a three-man defence and also in midfield. Tuanzebe would be a player who would get more playing time on loan this season after being sixth choice in defence this season and when Eric Bailly is back, he will most likely be seventh choice. Shaw, speaking to the official Manchester United website, said:

“I think Axel is unbelievable. I think the talent he’s got is frightening. He’s strong, he’s quick, he’s energetic, he reads the game well, he’s a good passer of the ball, he’s got everything. 

“For me, his main position is probably central defender. I think if he nails down one place, it will be central defender. But like I said, he’s got everything and he’s still very young. 

“I look back to the game against Swansea away [in the Carabao Cup] when he came in from the cold and there would have been a few people surprised at him starting the game. But he didn’t let anyone down. I was sat on the bench and I was happy and proud for him, and also Scott [McTominay] in the same game. Both of them were terrific, especially Axel because I think Scotty had played a game before that. 

“It was Axel’s first proper game [this season] and against a good team as well. For me, he was Man of the Match and I think people then took to him, the fans, and they knew what a special talent we had. 

“We’ve not seen him that much but, hopefully, we and the fans get to see him more because I see him in training and he’s improving every day, building his confidence up even more. He’s always ready for his chance when called upon.”

Receiving praise from a teammate will mean a lot to Tuanzebe, who has bags of talent to succeed at the highest level. For Shaw to say he’s strong, quick, energetic, as well as reading the game well and being a good passer of the ball will show the player that he is doing the right thing on his rise to fame. If Mourinho does allow Tuanzebe to go out on loan and whether it is Aston Villa or another club who opts to sign him for the remainder of the season, it will give the player the time to show his abilities. Playing in the Championship, if that is where he ends up, will test him.

Since Jose Mourinho commenced his management role at United, Tuanzebe has been praised by him and a whole host of his teammates, whether they are in the first team or the reserves. The player has a great future ahead of him and instead of sitting on the sidelines during matches he will benefit more playing in a first team environment. Tuanzebe training with the first team can only do so much for his development. It is how he performs on the pitch which suggests whether he is at the level he needs to be. I do hope he will get the loan move which will help him at this time.

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