Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has exlpained just why reports have emerged of the possibility of Axel Tuanzebe leaving the club on loan.
The defender has been promoted to the first team under the Portuguese manager’s watchful eye but has hardly featured this season.
Tuanzebe is typically a centre-back but has featured at right-back a handful of times and is capable of playing in defensive midfield if need be.
A product of the academy, fans have occasionally called out for the young Englishman to play more often even ahead of the club’s own current set of stars.
Mourinho though didn’t leave anything up to rumours and decided to clear the air with talk of Axel’s future on the line.
According to MUFC Latest, Jose said to the official Manchester United website: “I have a squad of 22 players and I want to keep the squad of 22 players.
“Maybe, just because I want to make the kid a good player and I’m not giving him the chances the chances I am giving to Scott McTominay, Axel Tuanzebe [could go out on loan] because he plays in a position where I have so many players.
“Today [Monday] on the bench I had Marcos Rojo and Lindelof and Bailly is still in recovery so I’m not giving the chances to Axel. So Axel is probably the only one I can leave the open door for him to go and play [elsewhere] because I believe he is a really good talent, and he needs to go and play.
“But apart from that, we need the numbers we have because we are playing in the Champions League, FA Cup and Premier League. I have to keep the number of players we have.”
Competition for places are a serious concern for Axel Tuanzebe though there’s hope that he can enjoy his time on loan and come back ready for first team action.
Jose Mourinho has invested in two centre-backs since joining the club but it’s said that he rates the youngster highly and sees a bright future ahead for Tuanzebe.
Mourinho has occasionally played with a three man backline and so there may yet be hope for Axel should that become the regularly used formation.
However, recent success in the 4-3-3 tactic is unlikely to be ignored by Mourinho and perhaps his versatility will be tested to its limits to squeeze him into United’s first team plans.