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Best partner for Maguire? – Man Utd must allow this aggressive 21-year-old to start more often and here’s why

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Axel Tuanzebe of Manchester United

Why Manchester United should get Axel Tuanzebe to start Premier League games

There haven’t been a lot of positives for Manchester United recently, especially with the knee-jerk culture of football today. But there is hope for a brighter future with regards to some of the younger players who have come from the academy.

One of those stories is that of Axel Tuanzebe, the 21-year-old central defender, who wore the armband against Rochdale in the League Cup game midweek. The academy graduate enjoyed a successful loan spell with Aston Villa in the Championship last season and looks well beyond his years.

He got his debut under Jose Mourinho in his first season in charge but the boy seems to have grown in stature and it wouldn’t be surprising if he went on to take the second centre-back spot from Victor Lindelof.

He’s put in some assured displays so far this season in the cup competitions, playing higher up the pitch due to his pace while driving the ball into the midfield. He looks like a player in the mould of Ledley King and Rio Ferdinand, who made defending look easy and never looked under pressure in 1v1 situations.

A more modern player who comes to mind is Rafael Varane, due to their similarities at driving the ball into the midfield. Victor Lindelof was United’s best defender last season but he was the best out of a bad bunch. With the introductions of Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, the Swede doesn’t look as good.

He’s a lot better now than he was when he first joined the club but he still looks a little timid. Tuanzebe, on the other hand, looks far more aggressive, often trying to win the ball higher up the pitch as a Manchester United defender should do.

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Tuanzebe has also been the captain of the youth sides and he’s already managed to captain the United first-team, which suggests just how highly he is rated.

It’s likely that he’ll force himself into the starting XI by next season alongside Harry Maguire as their attributes are likely to complement one another. The building blocks for that partnership should be worked upon now, as that’s most likely going to be the backline in the future.