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A robust central defender, Axel Tuanzebe is a natural leader and captained the Under-18 team as a first-year scholar.

Born in Bunia, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, he has been nurtured by the club's Academy since the age of eight after growing up in Rochdale. The 2015 winner of the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award was pushed into the Under-21s ahead of schedule after making three substitute appearances at that level in 2014/15. He quickly nailed down a regular place in the older age group and even made the substitutes' bench for the first team's 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace on 31 October at the tender age of 17. Unfortunately, injury halted his progress but he returned in time to help seal the Under-21 title. Axel trained with the first-team squad ahead of the pre-season friendly against Wigan Athletic in July 2016, with former manager Jose Mourinho keen to observe the promising centre-back. Tuanzebe captained the Reserves to good effect, showing his leadership qualities again, and his outstanding form in 2016/17 culminated in him being named the Denzil Haroun Reserve Team Player of the Year. He earned a place in the travelling squad for the second leg of the League Cup semi-final against Hull City, before making his competitive first-team bow in the Emirates FA Cup victory over Wigan in January 2017. A few months later Tuanzebe was handed his maiden senior start in May’s Premier League trip to Arsenal, in which he played 90 minutes. So impressive was the youngster, he started the next three league games that season. The talented defender signed a new contract to run until 2020, with the option of a further year, and soon after played his first game in the Champions League, during our 2-1 win against CSKA Moscow in December 2017. He spent the second half of the season on loan at then Championship side Aston Villa, but made few appearances due to injury. After returning to United - and playing 320 minutes of pre-season football for the Reds - Tuanzebe again rejoined Villa on 6 August 2018, this time on a season-long loan. He excelled in his second spell in the West Midlands and started almost every match when available for selection. His impressive campaign culminated with a trip to Wembley, and Axel played the full 90 minutes as Villa beat Derby County 2-1 to secure promotion back to the Premier League. On 5 July 2019, the club announced that Axel had penned a new contract, which will keep him at United until June 2022, with the option to extend for a further year. After an impressive pre-season, he was named on the bench for the Premier League opener against Chelsea at Old Trafford. He captained United for the first time during the Carabao Cup tie against Rochdale on 25 September, becoming one of the club's youngest-ever skippers in the process.

Read Less About Axel Tuanzebe
  • Position

    Defender

  • Country

    England

  • Date of birth

  • Joined

  • United debut

    v Wigan (H)

I’ll stay humble and keep working hard for opportunities to play.

Latest

Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams Google Hangout

United Hangout: Tuanzebe x Williams video

Catch up with Axel and Brandon on all things Academy, plus how the lads ensure they eat well during football’s hiatus…

Axel Tuanzebe

Tuanzebe: We want to be like Class of '92 Article

Our homegrown centre-back believes the current Academy graduates can emulate a special group from the past.

How Tuanzebe is maintaining his health & fitness video

Training alongside his brother, Axel Tuanzebe remains focused on his strength and conditioning during the break...

Axel Tuanzebe.

Box to Box: Axel Tuanzebe special video

Axel Tuanzebe discusses the Academy, the fans and captaining United in our latest episode of Box to Box...

UTD Podcast: I have lifelong friends here video

Who is Axel closest to in the changing room? As he says in UTD Podcast, there's a core group who all grew up together...

U23 Highlights: Stoke City 2 United 3 video

Watch all five goals, Tuanzebe's clearance and other action from a gripping Premier League 2 game…

Promotional image of the Axel Tuanzebe episode of UTD Podcast

Tuanzebe pitches his leadership credentials Article

The centre-back says he wants to be a senior figure in the side, during the latest episode of UTD Podcast.

UTD Podcast: How Axel plans to lead video

Tuanzebe is a natural-born leader and, with or without the captain's armband, he plans to have an influence on the club…

UTD Podcast: Tuanzebe’s road to the seniors video

Axel’s UTD Podcast is a top insight into his journey! Here, the big man recalls being starstruck to meet Wayne Rooney...

Axel Tuanzebe and Tim Fosu-Mensah.

Confirmed team news for United Under-23s Article

Read the full story on the senior players who will feature in our Premier League 2 encounter at Stoke City tonight.

Axel Tuanzebe records an episode of the official UTD Podcast

Tuanzebe: Villa helped me grow as a person Article

In the latest edition of UTD Podcast, the defender says his loan spell at Aston Villa was an invaluable experience.

Manchester United Under-23 players warm up before January's Premier League 2 win at Norwich City

Under-23s primed for Stoke challenge Article

Neil Wood's young Reds are all set for a return to Premier League 2 action tonight, live on MUTV.

Scott McTominay and Axel Tuanzebe training in Marbella.

Ole exclusive: Homegrown duo to bring the power Article

In our latest conversation, Solskjaer explains why Scott McTominay and Axel Tuanzebe are looking stronger than ever.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Reds train ahead of flight to Belgium Article

Check out who was working at the Aon Training Complex as Scott McTominay was with the main group.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Team news before Chelsea away Article

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has provided an update on new signing Odion Ighalo and five other members of his squad.

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