United team news for Brighton test
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed that young Manchester United centre-back Axel Tuanzebe is close to a return to first-team training.
The Academy graduate was pictured doing individual work at the Aon Training Complex on Thursday, as he steps up his recovery from a problem that has kept him sidelined since December 2019.
The 22-year-old - who captained the Reds in a Carabao Cup tie against Rochdale, a year ago today - was set to return in June only for a further setback to occur, which required surgery.
However, if all continues to go well, the boss says Axel will be back in the picture after the October international break in a fortnight’s time.
“He’s getting closer to training with the team. He’s on the grass and after the international break he should be fine to join us,” Ole told club media.
“During lockdown he was working hard, then as soon as we got going after the restart his foot was sore so he had to have an operation.
“Now he’s really raring to go again. I’m looking forward to getting him back.”
Solskjaer added that there are no further fitness concerns in his squad ahead of Saturday's trip to Brighton & Hove Albion, with Phil Jones the only other known absentee.
The boss heavily rotated his line-up during our 3-0 Carabao Cup victory over Luton Town on Tuesday, in a bid to give his squad some minutes after a shorter close season than usual.
Club captain Harry Maguire was the only player to retain his place in the starting line-up, but a further eight Reds made their first appearances of the campaign, with the likes of Dean Henderson, Eric Bailly, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard all standing out at Kenilworth Road.
United are seeking our first points of the Premier League season at the Amex tomorrow and Solskjaer says his side’s conditioning will improve as the campaign gathers momentum.
Ole told club media on Friday morning: “They’re getting better and fitter and sharper.
“We will get better and better, and fitter and fitter. But we can’t wait and say ‘well, we’ll get fit in 3 weeks’ time’. We need to get going straight away.”
Getting stronger! gallery
Axel Tuanzebe was working hard as the Reds trained in front of our cameras.
The Seagulls, who are looking for their first back-to-back league wins since November 2019, will be without midfielder Yves Bissouma, who is serving the second part of a three-match suspension after being sent off during Sunday’s 3-0 win at Newcastle United.
Graham Potter did not report any new injury concerns when he spoke to the media on Thursday, meaning the home side’s only absentees will be their long-term ones, with Jose Izquierdo, Florin Andone and Christian Walton all still out for a number of weeks.
“We’re okay,” Potter said. “We just need to recover the boys that played on Wednesday [against Preston] which is normal, but I think most of them will be fine for the United game.
“Tariq Lamptey was receiving some treatment this week but he trained on Thursday and Adam Lallana has trained all week. So, apart from Bissouma being suspended, we have no further problems.”
One further note is that Dale Stephens, a mainstay in the Albion midfield since promotion in 2017, completed his transfer to Burnley on Thursday.