Manchester United youngster Axel Tuanzebe needs to make himself indispensable to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and prove he deserves a place in the first-team going forward. That’s the opinion of United hero Ryan Giggs.
Tuanzebe was thrown in at the deep end on Wednesday night as he made his first appearance since United’s Carabao Cup tie against Colchester last December.
With Harry Maguire left back in Manchester, United were light on their feet with regards to options at the back.
Solskjaer opted to start Tuanzebe, 22, as one of three centre-backs in a five-man defensive line.
The defender had a terrific game and was praised for his ability to keep Kylian Mbappe quiet throughout.
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Tuanzebe showed his strength at one point by chasing down the pacy French forward and barging him off the ball inside the United area.
The youngster will now be hoping to follow up that performance by getting some consistent minutes in the United first-team, with Maguire facing criticism recently for his poor performances.
And Giggs believes Tuanzebe now has to prove his worth to Solskjaer and force his way into the team long-term.
He said: “First of all, he’s a really good lad, good mentality. All Axel has to do now is play games. Stay fit and play games.
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“He’s got all the attributes, he can handle the ball, he could even play in midfield.
“We thought about playing him in midfield when he was fit – under Louis [Van Gaal].
“He can read the game well, he’s quick – he showed that yesterday.
“Now he’s got to play games, when he plays games his confidence will grow, because he’s got all the attributes to be a Man United centre-half.
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“He’s just got to bang out the games.
“If he does that, it’s up to him to say to Ole ‘leave me out the team, I’m doing so well you can’t leave me out the team’.
“That consistency, he’s got to produce performances like that again and again.
“I’m sure if he stays fit, he’ll be a regular in the first-team.”
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