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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 he Premier League opener against Chelsea at Old Trafford.

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    v Wigan (H)

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


Axel Tuanzebe during Manchester United training.

UTD Unscripted: Ready for the challenge Article

Axel Tuanzebe reflects on his progression into the United first team and outlines his ambitions for the future.

Axel Tuanzebe.
Axel Tuanzebe says

“Playing at Old Trafford, with my family and friends watching, that’s all you can wish for. Doing that regularly is my next challenge. I’ve been training my whole life for this and I’m ready for it.”

Axel Tuanzebe warming up ahead of the Manchester United v Crystal Palace match.
Axel Tuanzebe says

“Now I want more chances to show what I can do at United. I want to be playing regularly for this club, and I think it’s very possible.”

Axel Tuanzebe playing for Manchester United against Astana.
Axel Tuanzebe says

“Life in the first team is hard. You have to step everything up. If you have downfalls in certain areas it can cost you in a game situation. You always have to be on the ball.”

Axel Tuanzebe and James Garner compete for the ball during Manchester United training.
Axel Tuanzebe says

“You don’t care about who you’re up against, even in training. This guy isn’t here to be your friend; he’s trying to take your place.”

Axel Tuanzebe playing captaining Manchester United's youth team.
Axel Tuanzebe says

“I’ve said in the past that I want to be United captain one day and I stand by that.”

Axel Tuanzebe speaks to the press ahead of Manchester United v Astana.

Tuanzebe: Staying here was the right decision Article

Axel Tuanzebe was asked about his progress during Wednesday’s press conference for the Astana match.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Ole confirms three starters for Astana tie Article

Find out which players will definitely be involved in our opening Europa League fixture.

Tahith Chong in graceful action at Old Trafford.

United v Leicester: Five Talking Points Article

Find out which topics our fans will be discussing on their way home from Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.

Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood and James Garner pose for a photo on Tour 2019.

Rashford's verdict on our young players Article

Marcus Rashford discusses five Reds who have followed his route from the Academy into the first-team squad.

Axel Tuanzebe.

Solskjaer: Axel is the future of United Article

Read what Ole told reporters when quizzed on his plans for the defender, for both this season and beyond.

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