Jose Mourinho: Axel Tuanzebe is close to his Man United first team debut

by Leo Nieboer

Jose Mourinho has insisted that Axel Tuanzebe is close to making a first team appearance at Manchester United following the departures of Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay.

The youngster attracted personal praise from the 53-year-old following Man United’s 2-0 pre-season win over Wigan Athletic before earning a spot on the 25-man tour squad that travelled China.

He was more recently pictured enjoying himself alongside Paul Pogba during a training session at Carrington ahead of United’s League Cup clash with Hull City on Thursday.

And Mourinho, when asked whether Tuanzebe could feature in the first team this season, responded: “He can. 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.”

Mourinho, much like his predecessor, clearly sees something in Tuanzebe. The 19-year-old has been a lurking presence in the first team for some time, emerging for the first time back in October 2015 as an unused substitute during United’s 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace back in October 2015.

And it feels as if his presence cannot be ignored for much longer. The youngster, a notably superior figure in the reserves possesses a physique and technical arsenal capable of matching established Premier League talents, and supporters will be keen to see him receive a chance to impress in the coming weeks.

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