Rio Ferdinand insisted Axel Tuanzebe must retain his place in the Manchester United team after a stand-out performance against Paris Saint-Germain.
Tuanzebe was handed his first start in 10 months at the Parc des Princes as United emerged with an important 2-1 victory.
Marcus Rashford’s late winner secured all three points but it was Tuanzebe who was the star of the show with a fantastic display.
Operating on the right side of a back three, Tuanzebe found himself directly up against Kylian Mbappe and acquitted himself extremely well despite having not kicked a ball for the first team since last December prior to the win in the French capital.
Athleticism is a trait United have lacked in defence this term and Ferdinand believes the 22-year-old’s pace at the back could be crucial to solving United’s defensive issues.
“This is where Manchester United have struggled (in channels) in the last six to 12 months, chasing players down the channels,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “They can’t stay with them and then that opens up the back four. They were smelling danger.
“Yes (has he played his way into the team). Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer) has just said he’s snuffed out two of the best strikers in the world. You have to reward performances.
“He’s had a hard time with injuries, his first game in 10 months but to come in and play like that, you have to be rewarded.”