Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov believes centre-back Axel Tuanzebe has put himself in the frame to become a regular starter after his excellent showing in the 2-1 win against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.
With Harry Maguire having been forced to sit out the trip to the French capital with a knock, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opted to put Tuanzebe on the right of the back-three, with Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw making up the trio.
Despite being plunged into a game of such magnitude, which saw United face some of the world’s most deadly attackers in the shape of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, Tuanzebe was not fazed by the occasion, with an assured showing to help United kick-off their group stage fixtures in perfect fashion.
And after such a superb performance, Berbatov is hopeful that Tuanzebe’s opportunity to impress against PSG wasn’t just a flash in the pan, insisting he must now be considered as a first-choice option in the games that lie ahead.
“I thought Axel Tuanzebe was excellent in defence, for his age he showed so much maturity and strength,” Berbatov told betfair.
“He didn’t look intimidated or afraid of the huge names he had to defend, and a game like this will give him confidence. He has made the case for himself that he should play more.
“It’s only one game but he appears to have all the qualities of a great defender – speed and strength, along with a cool head.
“I said in pre-season that United needed a centre back, but maybe all along Axel has been there, and he is a strong candidate to be first choice.”
The victory against PSG – who had made it to the final of the Champions League last season – was a surprise to many, especially after the 6-1 reverse to Tottenham Hotspur prior to the international break.
Despite having beaten Newcastle United and now PSG in their last two outings, Berbatov is calling for United to keep their feet on the ground, as well as admitting that new signing Edinson Cavani is a “big addition” to the squad following his recent arrival.
Sign up to our free MUFC email newsletter
Get the latest breaking Manchester United transfer news and analysis every day direct to your inbox with our free MUFC newsletter
He added: “At the same time, United shouldn’t get head of themselves. Don’t think about big targets, just take every game as it comes.
“If Ole keeps them steady, rotates the team correctly, and they concentrate, they can win more games.
“Edinson Cavani will be a big addition when he is ready also. Everyone has been spot on in the last couple of games and this must continue.”