Axel Tuanzebe’s return to Manchester United training after a 10 month injury layoff could not have come at a better time.
United made four signings on a hectic deadline day but failed to address their biggest problem with the addition of a new central defender.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have inexcusably conceded 11 goals in their opening three Premier League games, with Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly coming in for justified criticism for reprehensible individual errors.
Many supporters hoped that Chris Smalling could provide a temporary solution for Solskjaer by coming back into the fold if a move to Roma didn’t materialise.
But Smalling secured his deadline day move, and United will not be able to add to their squad until the transfer window reopens in eight weeks time.
Solskjaer has been boosted by the return of Tuanzebe, who has not played since December and has missed the start of the season with a foot injury.
According to the Telegraph, the 22-year-old is back in training at Carrington and ready to challenge for a first-team spot.
And the long-awaited return to training during the international break is timely given United have two weeks until their next game away to Newcastle.
Tuanzebe can use the time to build up sharpness before competing with Maguire, Lindelof and Bailly for a starting berth.
The Newcastle fixture may come too soon for the England under 21 international but he has all the attributes to fill the centre-back role and is definitely worthy of a chance when he regains match-fitness.
Tuanzebe and teenage star Teden Mengi may both be tested by Solskjaer in the coming weeks as he looks to find a solution to United’s defensive woes.