Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford says he is not surprised that Axel Tuanzebe is forcing his way into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s match day squad.
Tuanzebe was selected on the bench ahead of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones on Sunday as the Reds demolished Chelsea 4-0 at Old Trafford.
It was encouraging to see the 21-year-old’s selection, proving Solskjaer is looking ahead and will no longer rely on Jones or Smalling in defence.
The young defender impressed while on loan at Aston Villa last season in Dean Smith’s promotion campaign, and is now staying at Old Trafford to fight for his first-team place following an impressive summer tour.
“For me, it’s no surprise to see the progress Axel has made,” Rashford told Man Utd’s official website.
“I’ve been playing with Axel since we were kids and I remember, at about 16 or 17, he was the toughest one-v-one defender that I’d ever trained or played against. ‘I’ve always expected this from him. It’s funny how things work out, but now’s his time.”
It’s not going to easy for Tuanzebe to break the blossoming partnership between Victor Lindelof and new signing Harry Maguire, who already looked at home on his Old Trafford debut.
But the young defender is clearly very highly-rated at the club and will get opportunities to impress in the first-team this season.
Solskjaer’s side are fighting in four competitions this season, so there is no reason why Tuanzebe won’t get the chance to shine at the back as the manager rotates his starting line-up.