Axel Tuanzebe has explained how his playing style has matured since the arrival of Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
The youngster was handed his senior debut against Wigan Atletic back in January before impressing against Arsenal, Southampton and Crystal Palace during the closing stages of last season.
He continued to impress over pre-season and has continued to work alongside the first team, although he hasn’t received any minutes yet having only just returned from injury.
And Tuanzebe, when asked about Mourinho, insisted that the 54-year-old has helped him mature by handing him opportunities in the first team.
“I’d say I’ve matured and my football style has matured. I think I make better decisions now, you learn about prioritising the team more rather than playing for yourself,” he said.
“That’s a massive part of getting into the team because everything you do is about trying to benefit the team. I’ve been with the first team now for more than half a season and you just keep learning.
“There is no point where you stop learning or you’ve seen enough, it’s always a continuous journey. The Moscow trip was a great experience and a different type of preparation, we were there for longer and we trained there, so you pick up little things.”
There are, of course, a number of youngsters knocking on the door of the first team, hellbent on following in the footsteps of Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard. Andreas Pereira, Scott McTominay, Demetri Mitchell and Angel Gomes are all relevant examples.
But nobody is closer to becoming an entrenched part of United’s defensive arsenal than Tuanzebe. The youngster has already pocketed Alexis Sanchez and shown superb composure in midfield in his short senior career, alongside a capacity to occupy a variety of roles.
Above anything, he is a calm character. Much like Rashford and Lingard, he doesn’t seem fazed by much at all. And Mourinho, as fixtures intensify, may want to call on his versatility this season.