Axel Tuanzebe has become a source of intrigue for Manchester United supporters since Jose Mourinho claimed he only needed “10 minutes” to identify the centre-back’s talent and potential.
The manager made that comment after handing Tuanzebe his first senior appearance during last Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium, where he introduced the former Jimmy Murphy Player of the year during the final moments as a replacement for new signing Eric Bailly.
Tuanzebe has since flown to China for the Red’s pre-season tour, and the 18-year -old defender now hopes to feature in the upcoming friendlies against Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City.
In an exclusive interview with MUTV, Tuanzebe said, “The tour has been good so far, you get to watch the senior players and see how they do things, it is important for me to take these things on board. It’s really good to be a part of it.”
“The Chinese people are really lovely, they are very welcoming so it is really good to come here. The weather is nice and sunny, so it will be great to play football here.”
“I get along with everyone in the squad, but I do obviously have some closer friends who I have gone through with ranks with like Marcus Rashford, Timothy Fosu- Mensah and Jesse Lingard, but I do get on with everyone.”
“This is my opportunity now. Last year, I missed a couple of months due to injury but now can start afresh, give it a good go and try to stick with the first team.”
When asked specifically about the praise he has received form Mourinho, Tuanzebe was understandably delighted but acknowledged he must continue to work hard.
“To have your manager backing you so strongly is a positive sign and my aim now is just to keep impressing and striving towards my goals.”