Axel Tuanzebe had not played for Manchester United since December last year when he was thrown to the wolves against PSG. Now he is hailed by both his teammates and Ole Gunnar Solskjær after the 2-1 victory in Paris.
The mentioned wolves, in this case Kylian Mbappé and Neymar, are a nightmare for the most deserving midfielder – and it was the challenge that faced Axel Tuanzebe in his very first Manchester United match since the league cup match against Colchester in December 2019.
It was exactly one year and two weeks since the last time he started a match for Ole Gunnar Solskjær when he played at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday night, but still the 22-year-old was an important piece to keep the PSG strikers in check. Time and time again he was taken on running trips in the back room with lightning-fast Mbappé, but time and time again he cleaned up.
– To be honest, he was incredible today. He played against two of the best players in the world in Neymar and Mbappé. He did very well, so I am very happy on his behalf, says David de Gea to Manchester United TV.
Tuanzebe has been out of the squad for long periods of the last ten months due to injuries.
– He has had tough moments with the injuries, but he showed today that he can play in big matches, they state Gea.
Due to injury problems, Solskjær was dependent on Tuanzebe coming in and delivering in the substitute role in midfield. Both Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly had to face the settlement with injuries.
– Axel did fantastically well. He has been out for ten months, so delivering such an achievement against Mbappé and Neymar almost surprised us. We know he is a good player, but to do it on a night like this is fantastic, Solskjær said according to
Tuanzebe was for a long time a great talent in United’s academy, and made his debut on the A-team in 2017. Many in the club hoped he would follow in the footsteps of peer Marcus Rashford, but the injuries have caused trouble for the youngster. His friend Rashford was not surprised that he delivered the goods to PSG.
– I know Axel from when he was little, and he is a fantastic custodian. For me, he has no problems getting in, even though he has been without for a long time. With Harry injured, we needed it, Rashford told the club’s TV channel.