Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Axel Tuanzebe can have a ‘long career’ at Manchester United after his stunning return in the win over Paris Saint-Germain.
Tuanzebe, 22, played for the first time in 10 months at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday night and earned rave reviews for his handling of Kylian Mbappe in United’s 2-1 win.
Solskjaer named Tuanzebe as captain in United’s Carabao Cup tie against Rochdale last season and the defender – who made his first squad appearance under Louis van Gaal in October 2015 – wowed Jose Mourinho after his first match as United manager in July 2016.
Despite receiving a first-team squad promotion five years ago, Tuanzebe has only started 12 times for United amid a myriad of injury issues but has been match-fit for a month now.
“It was a great performance by a kid who’s not played for ten months” Solskjaer said. “Delighted for him because he is such a professional character, he wants everything, he works really hard, been really, really thorough in his rehab, and I am very pleased for him.
“Now to get consistency in his performances he’s got to stay injury-free, we have to manage that. That’s mine and his job and the physio staff’s job, of course. But I think he can kick on.
“He’s such a leader. He can play right-back, centre-back, central midfield, he can play many positions and he’s a boy who takes responsibility for his own development and i’m sure he’s doing everything he can to have a long career at United.
“So hopefully we can get that consistency.”
Donny van de Beek has been restricted to starts in the Carabao Cup but has had positive impacts in three of United’s four Premier League games. Although the Dutchman is the only one of United’s six midfielders yet to start in the Premier League or Champions League Solskjaer says he is giving Van de Beek time to adapt.
“Donny’s fit enough but of course it’s competition for places,” Solskjaer explained. “It’s giving him time to settle in and adjust to his new teammates. It’s a new league.
“He’s an absolutely top footballer and top personality. So humble and hard-working but also he’s of course eager to play more. You’ll see him throughout the season, it’s going to be a long, long season and you’ll see him. He’s impressed me.”