Axel Tuanzebe produces strong display against Southampton

by Leo Nieboer

Axel Tuanzebe produced a masterful display in midfield during Manchester United’s 0-0 draw with Southampton on Wednesday.

The youngster, who made his Premier League debut against Arsenal earlier this month, was handed his third successive start at Saint Mary’s alongside Marouane Fellaini in midfield.

And he looked at ease from the outset, calmly moving the ball around the pitch and always finding space in the middle before making way for Michael Carrick after 60 minutes.

His stats from the game shed light on what was a composed, amazingly mature display against Claude Puel’s men.

Tuanzebe, it should be noted, has flirted with the senior side since October 2015. He had to wait until last January for his first appearance, but the learning certainly hadn’t begun there. The 19-year-old has spent plenty of time alongside these players and, on an otherwise uninspiring evening on the south coast, that knowledge was apparent against Southampton.

His movement, for one thing, was terrific. Being in space isn’t something midfielders are usually praised for, but the youngster’s reading of the game, of his teammates, belied his age. On the ball, it was more of the same: his composure, awareness and execution didn’t wane. Tuanzebe task, it seems, was to find space and move the ball forward whenever he could, and while supporters will bemoan another draw, they can take great inspiration from another academy product passing seamlessly into the senior set-up.

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