Tue. Dec 1st, 2020

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Owen Hargreaves raves about Axel Tuanzebe after he starred in Man Utd’s win at PSG

3 min read

Axel Tuanzebe has earned huge plaudits after keeping Kylian Mbappe and Neymar at bay to help Manchester Untied record another famous Champions League win in Paris.

The 22-year-old had been a surprise inclusion, having not featured for United in 10 months, but he more than repaid the faith shown in him by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Tuanzebe didn’t put a foot wrong all game and was arguably the best defender on the pitch. On this showing, many feel he deserves a chance to become a regular starter.

Axel Tuanzebe had Kylian Mbappe in his back pocket for much of Tuesday night's match

Axel Tuanzebe had Kylian Mbappe in his back pocket for much of Tuesday night’s match

BT Sport pundits were waxing lyrical about him at the full-time whistle after his inspired performance played a major role in United’s deserved 2-1 win at the Parc des Princes.

‘I love him,’ Owen Hargreaves said. ‘Good luck getting this guy out of the team. To be fair he is a good athlete, he makes good decisions, physically he has a presence, he wasn’t fazed by Mbappe or Neymar, I think he grew into the occasion. 

‘Scott McTominay put in a top performance here a couple of years ago, this young man is not getting out the side, if you can have this athleticism in these positions (when he knocked Mbappe off the ball) then you have something special.’

He was one of Man United's top performers as they claimed another famous win in Paris

He was one of Man United’s top performers as they claimed another famous win in Paris

Centre-back has proven to be a problem position for Solskjaer, who is yet to establish his best pairing having already experimented with Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly alongside Maguire this season. 

Fellow pundit and former United defender Rio Ferdinand joined Hargreaves in urging Solskjaer to ‘reward’ Tuanzebe by giving him more first-team opportunities. 

He said: ‘This is where Man United have struggled in the last six to 12 months, in them areas, chasing players down the channels, they can’t stay with them and then that opens up the back four or back three. 

Owen Hargreaves believes Tuanzebe must remain in the first team after this showing

Owen Hargreaves believes Tuanzebe must remain in the first team after this showing

‘But he was smelling danger. Ole just said he faced two of the best strikers in the world, he snuffed out danger many a time today, you have to reward performances like that. 

‘He has had a hard time with injury, but again first game in 10 months, to come in and play like that out of the cold, you deserve to be rewarded but Ole is the man to make that decision ‘ 

The United boss was too complimentary of his young defender after goals from Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford ensured United got their Champions League campaign off to the perfect start.

Solskjaer added: ‘We know Axel’s qualities, he is a top defender. That was his first game in 10 months, so that performance is testament to the quality he has.’ 

Marcus Rashford hit the winner for United with just a few minutes remaining on the clock

Marcus Rashford hit the winner for United with just a few minutes remaining on the clock

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