Axel Tuanzebe seeks more game time as he completes Aston Villa loan move


With only two full days of the transfer window left Axel Tuanzebe has completed a season-long loan move to Championship side Aston Villa where he spent half of last season’s campaign. The 20-year-old after a solid pre-season will get a second chance to show manager and Manchester United legend Steve Bruce what he can do and get some vital minutes under his belt.

Tuanzebe was one of a group of young players Mourinho had at his disposal for the US Tour as many of the senior players were still enjoying their post-World Cup holidays. The English defender played his part well overall getting many vital minutes playing alongside United’s senior defenders which can only help him and give him confidence going forward. Furthermore, the high-quality opponents chosen to play United such as Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Liverpool ensure that Tuanzebe tested himself against some of the best attacking players the world has to offer.

Unfortunately for the young defender, it would have been very difficult for him to cement a place in the starting eleven for this season. In his managerial tenure at United so far Mourinho in defensive areas tends to favour the reliability of experience rather than the exuberance of youth which was demonstrated last season with the persistent fullback pairing of Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young who have a combined age of 66 years old. In addition, Mourinho is always looking for constancy within his starting XIs and doesn’t like to change the personnel unless pushed due to injuries so in some respects it would have been a waste of time for him to stay at the club.

Season-long loan moves have already had great effects on some of United’s other young players in a similar position to Tuanzebe. Timothy Fosu-Mensah spent the whole of last season on loan at Premier League side Crystal Palace where the 20-year-old made 21 appearances for the Eagles. He made considerable progress under manager Roy Hodgson with his most notable performance coming against premier league champions Manchester City where Fosu-Mensah got the better of their most talented forward players in Leroy Sane in a draw which saw City drop their first points of the season.

Similarly, Andreas Pereira spent last season on loan at Spanish club side Valencia amounting 12 appearances. The season before he was on loan at Granada where he was able to get plenty of minutes with a total of 34 appearances for the Spanish side. Both players have returned to United with the hunger to be heavily involved in this seasons title challenge with both players giving very good accounts of themselves in pre-season.

A loan move for the 20-year-old may suit his needs better as young players need as much game time as possible to develop their skills and confidence in their own abilities. Tuanzebe’s last loan move with the Villans didn’t go quite according to plan as the English defender only featured in five matches after joining in January. However, with this loan move lasting a full season, it will allow him to get used to his surroundings and become comfortable with playing regular first team football as well as testing himself in arguably the country’s most physical league which will add greatly to his development.

Tuanzebe commented on his latest move telling Villa’s official website that it was a “no-brainer” to re-join the Midlands-based club and has ambitions to “reach the Premier League”. Tuanzebe becomes the fifth player to go out on loan at United as Mourinho seeks to give his young players much-needed first team football and hopefully, from United’s point of view, Tuanzebe can come back to Old Trafford next season with the experience needed to mount a challenge for a place in Mourinho’s plans.

Written by Ciaran Coyle

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