Axel Tuanzebe’s tour withdrawal could hint at Lisandro Martinez breakthrough – opinion

Erik ten Hag named a 31-man squad for Manchester United’s summer tour of Thailand and Australia but used only 22 players for the opening fixture against Liverpool.

Five players were left out of the squad entirely, with Axel Tuanzebe being one of them. Since then, it has emerged that he has left the tour and returned to Manchester.

Harry Maguire missed the 4-0 win over Liverpool and amid Tuanzebe’s absence, Alex Telles played the second half at centre-back alongside Eric Bailly.

Tuanzebe’s withdrawal from the squad has enhanced United’s mini-crisis at centre-back but Will Fish, the young academy defender, has been called up to replace him.

Read more: (Photos) Manchester United train after arriving in Melbourne

Tuanzebe left the tour due to a personal issue but his return to Manchester could open up an avenue for another centre-back to join the squad.

Earlier on Wednesday, it emerged that Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez was closing in on a move to United, with the 24-year-old agreeing personal terms.

United have been locked in negotiations with Ajax over his transfer for several weeks and with the first fixture in Australia still to play, there is yet time for him to link up with the squad.

Tuanzebe leaving opens up a slot for Martinez and Ten Hag will be eager to reunite with him in good time as they continue to prepare for a difficult season in the Premier League.

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