Should Axel Tuanzebe be a starter for Manchester United next season?


Manchester United loanee Axel Tuanzebe has just helped Aston Villa clinch promotion to the Premier League. Is the centre-back ready to start alongside Victor Lindelof in the first team?

Many of the academy graduates that Manchester United loan out in the Premier League and beyond are never heard from again.

Why? Because these loan spells merely function as a way to put these players in the shop window in the hopes that another club will be impressed by their performances and sign them up.

Although this seems like a sad state of affairs, the reality is that there simply isn’t enough space in our first team to accommodate all of our home-grown talent, and many aren’t even good enough to make the first-team squad anyway.

This is why when Axel Tuanzebe was loaned out to Aston Villa last season, I didn’t expect to see the Englishman anywhere near our first team ever again.

However, the centre-back was able to prove cynics like me wrong, becoming a regular starter for the Lions and even helping them clinch promotion with a terrific display in the play-off finals against Frank Lampard’s Derby County.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now has a decision to make this summer. Should he allow Tuanzebe to continue his development at Villa? Or should the Manchester United manager recall the 21-year-old so that he can train with the first team during pre-season and potentially become a starter next season?

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The former may be the smarter option. Former Chelsea centre-back John Terry is the assistant manager at Villa Park and could be a great influence in helping Tuanzebe to excel in the position.

Furthermore, if Solskjaer is indeed considering signing a defender anyway in the summer transfer window, recalling Tuanzebe would be a waste, as the youngster will probably be left on the bench for most of next season.

However, I’d personally like to see the boss take a risk and make Tuanzebe a regular starter for United next season. He can’t be much worse than the defensive options we already have at the club, and besides, how many times have we splashed out on big-money signings, only for them to flop at the club?

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Instead of always relying on the market to solve our problems, we should put some faith in our youth-team players for a change. Who knows, they may end up surprising us and saving the club a fortune in the process.