[U21s] The Axel Tuanzebe Thread

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I'd like to get this topic ready for next season as he's likely to feature regularly for the U18s by that time.


Name: Axel Tuanzebe


Nationality: English (of course) but he's eligible for Ethiopia as well if I'm not wrong.


Birthday: 14/11/1997 (16 years old)


At United from: 11 years old.


Position: Tuanzebe is a CB but also played as right-back as well as centre midfield.


U18s appearances: even though still a schoolboy last season, Tuanzebe managed to have 6 starts and 3 subs for the U18s.With Cameron Borthwick-Jackson the only CB that is older than him in the squad next season and likely to be used more at left-back, we can expect Tuanzebe to become a first-choice at the heart of United's defence.


Tuanzebe also started all the matches of United U17s in the squad that won the Milk Cup last season.


Style of play: a typical defender product of United's Academy, Tuanzebe is good at reading the game and looks composed with the ball at his feet.

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On the bench for the U21s on Monday.With Fosu-Mensah coming to the squad we might promote either him or CBJ to the U21s IMO.Our staffs seem to rate both him and Williams so I don't think they will bench either of them for Fosu-Mensah.


Lad will be future United captain.Mark my word.

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On the bench for the U21s on Monday.With Fosu-Mensah coming to the squad we might promote either him or CBJ to the U21s IMO.Our staffs seem to rate both him and Williams so I don't think they will bench either of them for Fosu-Mensah.


If it comes down to Fosu-Mensah or Williams then Fosu-Mensah plays every time. 

Edited by United689908

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Axel Tuanzebe: Who Is Manchester United's Academy Player of the Year?


Danny Welbeck, Wes Brown, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs have all been recipients of Manchester United's Young Player of the Year award in the last 25 years. It was won by James Wilson 12 months ago and now this season's winner will give fans plenty of reason to get excited.


It was 17-year-old Axel Tuanzebe who collected the prestigious prize at United's annual award ceremony on Tuesday night, recognising his role as the best player at Under-18 level in 2014/15.

he central defender is already turning quite a few heads in the club's esteemed youth setup and despite being younger than many of his team-mates, it was Tuanzebe that coach Paul McGuinness named as U-18 captain this season.


Speaking after presenting the youngster with the Jimmy Murphy trophy, named for the legendary former coach, McGuinness explained, "I made a choice I'd not made before.


"I made a first-year player my captain and the reason I did it was because has outstanding potential as a leader. I thought I'd give him as much practice as he could get. That's what we've done this year and he's not let us down."


Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997, Tuanzebe moved to north west England as a young child. He grew up and went to school just north of Manchester, in Rochdale, and such was his talent for football he had been snapped up by United scouts at the tender age of just 11.

Described as "powerful and athletic", the youngster has played almost 30 times for the Under-18s this season and even played three times at Under-21 level. One of those appearances came against Tottenham, which saw Tuanzebe rub shoulders with first-teamers Victor Valdes, Rafael, Adnan Januzaj and Radamel Falcao.


He is comfortable on the ball and a strong runner, something all modern defenders must be, and, even at such a young age, is already thought to be on the radar of manager Louis van Gaal. Earlier this year, the Dutchman was said to be "impressed" by what he has seen of the teenager, which could yet lead to a place in this summer's pre-season tour squad.


Tuanzebe should also be able take inspiration from the fact that Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair have both become established members of the first team this season, highlighting a clear path to the senior squad within two or three years if he can continue his current trajectory.


The player himself is just pleased to be progressing well. Standing up in front of his more senior colleagues on Tuesday, he said, "It's been a good season for myself. I think I've had a lot of support from all the coaches and staff. A lot of the players were backing me throughout the season because I was captain as well.


"It's been a long road and a lot of players have come and gone. I think there are four players from my Under-11s team who are still here now and it's been a great experience."


A bigger role in the Under-21 team is Tuanzebe's next target, but it already looks as though United have a very special talent on their hands indeed.



Edited by jokerz

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Rise To Fame: Axel Tuanzebe


Before the 2014/15 campaign began, Axel Tuanzebe would have been an unknown name to many Manchester United fans. Fast-forward 12 months, and suddenly there is a buzz around Old Trafford that they may be producing their most promising central defender in decades. After a dominating performance this past season for the U18’s, including several cameo appearances for the U21’s side, young Tuanzebe is suddenly drawing comparisons to a young Rio Ferdinand.


Although he was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is was primarily raised in Rochdale and is therefore a local lad. Sir Alex Ferguson is thought to have been grooming Tuanzebe for a leadership role at Old Trafford since he arrived at the club in 2009 when he was a mere 11-years-old. Upon receiving his Academy Player of the Year Award in May, Tuanzebe remarked that he relishes being captain as â€œyou get to boss them aroundâ€. Tuanzebe has been captain of the U18’s since he was only 16, guiding his team to Milk Cup wins in 2013 and 2014.


Tuanzebe is a physical, imposing player who commands respect at the heart of  defence. He exudes confidence with the ball at his feet, often bursting out of defence to prompt an attack with his midfield, a trait which Van Gaal is thought to be an admirer of. His most noticeable asset is probably his speed, which makes him a nightmare to play against as an attacker as he is able to recover quickly from any slips or mistakes. Such speed has meant that he has often slotted into right back and even right-wing positions on occasion for both the U18’s and U21’s teams.



It has been reported in several different places that Tuanzebe is held in very high regard by both Louis van Gaal and also the Manchester United academy staff, albeit quietly.  The Manchester Evening News recently reported that Van Gaal has been so impressed by Tuanzebe’s ability and promise that he is willing to release Tyler Blackett in order to accommodate him in more senior teams. Les Kershaw, one of United’s academy advisors, had this to say about him:


“He’s a very, very good player. And is one of them that I really like because he has a strong personality.â€


Tuanzebe is conservative about his chances for first-team action any time soon, although the whispers around Old Trafford are that Van Gaal is considering taking Tuanzebe as well as his other most promising youngsters on the summer tour this year. When pressed about his chances of gaining first-team experience this season, Tuanzebe gave a predictably diplomatic answer


“Only time will tell. I’ll just continue progressing and hopefully I can get there.â€


Louis van Gaal recently revealed that he will take several young players on this season’s summer tour of USA, and is hopeful for them to impress him. Long touted by United training staff as the most promising central defender they have produced in years, this summer may be 17-year-old Tuanzebe’s chance to announce himself onto the first-team stage and impress his manager.


With former U21’s captain Tom Thorpe released by United this month, Tuanzebe may be moved up to the U21 team for the 2015/16 season. Although he may well get a chance in the 2015 summer tour of America, perhaps establishing himself in the U21’s team is a more realistic goal for him at this stage in his development. Due to his impressive physical stature, it is sometimes easy to forget that he is still only 17.


It may be too early to tell, but the future looks very bright for Axel Tuanzebe.



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Manchester United's Under-18s captain, Axel Tuanzebe, was crowned Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year at the recent end-of-season awards ceremony, so we spoke to MUTV Academy commentator David Stowell to get the lowdown on the Reds youngster...

For those not familiar with Axel Tuanzebe, can you tell us a little bit about him?
Axel grew up in Rochdale but was actually born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was very highly thought of in the youth football circuits of his home town and has been part of United’s Academy set-up since a very young age. This season he’s been fantastic and has only missed three games for the U18s, and those were when he was stepping up to Under-21 level, all pretty impressive when you think that he’s still only 17. He’s obviously got a bit of growing to do, but he’s going to be a robust, solid, physical player. He’s also got a bit of pace about him and is more than comfortable in possession of the ball.

From speaking to United's youth team coaches, is Axel a player who has long been talked about as a potential star of the future?
Quite a few of the coaches I have spoken to have expected him to do well, but at the same time they are always careful, even when it’s off the record, not to big a player up too much – that’s part of the mentality of the club. I always look at it that even if they are doing well, who’s to say that they won’t suffer a dip in form, or if they get too much praise it might go to their heads. They’re young guys who are developing as players and as people, which is why the coaches work hard to keep their feet on the ground. Even though they might expect Axel to step out and be one of the better players, they’re careful not to overplay that.

He’s skippered the U18s this season and has shown great maturity in that role. How important has that been for Paul McGuinness' side?
He's been very important. The other players often looked to him for inspiration to drive on through matches. The U18s is a very difficult team to be part of because everyone’s at a tricky age where they’re trying to establish whether or not they can make a career at Manchester United – even though they clearly have the talent because otherwise they wouldn’t be here. With that in mind, I think Axel gives the rest of the team confidence that, yes, they can win today. He’ll often give little speeches when they have a pre-match huddle and that’s all important. 

In terms of style, what sort of defender is he?
I’m not one of those who likes to say so-and-so is the next Paul Scholes, or whatever, but if you to compare his style of play to great defenders of United’s past like Vidic and Ferdinand, then you’d say that he was more in the ilk of Ferdinand. He’s a ball-playing centre-half as opposed to a tackler. For example, there were many times over the course of the season where Axel won the ball without going to ground. He’s tall, quick and has the ability to stop the opposition in a variety of different ways as opposed to always sliding into the challenge. It’s that mix of attributes that makes up the way he plays.

Has he always been a defender? His confidence on the ball suggests that he may have played elsewhere as a more attacking player...
Although he features mostly as a defender, he came to the club very much able to play in both positions, and he has done exactly that during his time here. His few appearances for the U21s have seen him come on towards the end of matches, largely in a midfield role, sometimes on the right-hand side and sometimes through the centre. This versatility will certainly serve him well as it’s an attribute that is respected by Louis van Gaal and will mean Axel is a benefit to each age group he represents.

Does Axel have the qualities to follow other winners of the Jimmy Murphy award, such as Ryan Giggs and fellow defender Wes Brown, to establish himself as a first-team regular?
It’s important that when you get an award like this you enjoy the feeling, but then you really need to knuckle down and get ready for the next test after it – that’s the challenge for Axel now. He’s had that pat on the back, so it’s clear people think he’s a good player, but you can either let that go to your head or strive to be even better. To a certain extent it’s up to him how far he goes. He’s got a great work ethic and, as long as he continues to listen and learn from Paul McGuinness and Warren Joyce, then hopefully he’ll get a break.




Axel Tuanzebe is getting closer to realising his Manchester United dream as the 17-year-old has been named on the bench for Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace.

Last season's Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year has been working with Warren Joyce's Under-21 squad but has been promoted to the senior squad for the first time.

In an exclusive interview with MUTV recently, the centre-back outlined his ambitions and aspirations as he strives to make his mark at Old Trafford.

"It’s been good," he said of the start to the season. "I’ve come back from injury and got back into my game. I’m really enjoying it. The Under-21s is a better level with better players and it’s really like men’s football and is another stepping stone to the first team. Obviously, I won Player of the Year last season but finished off with an injury so I’m just trying to get my way back into the team and impress the manager really."

Tuanzebe impressed everybody with the way he handled the occasion at the annual awards ceremony last summer but stresses the achievement is in the past now.

"My family were so proud of me, as were my friends and family and I was getting messages from all over the world saying ‘well done’," he said. "I was happy to win the award but it’s all about getting back into it and forgetting it, driving forward and being a regular player now.

"Once something happens, it’s finished and onto the next one. You take it in your stride. Criticism is as good as praise really as it allows you to work on something you’re not as good at. There’s nothing wrong with criticism, you just take everything in your stride."

The defender was named captain of the Under-18s last season despite being a first-year scholar and was able to show authority in terms of dealing with older players.

"At first, I was a bit nervous being captain of older players but, as we got into the season, we all grew in respect and we have a good bond with each other," he said. "We’ve played together since we were young so I knew everyone I was with and it wasn’t really a major problem. As the season continued, we just grew together as a team. I respected them and they respected me. It developed me as a person and now I feel more of a leader. I believe, one day, I can be a leader for this club. It would be my dream."


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