Axel Tuanzebe could not have asked for a tougher assignment on his first game back for Manchester United.
His last two matches were against Colchester United in December and Stoke City under-23s in March.
This one was a little different, away at PSG – with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar both fully fit.
Fortunately manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has huge faith in him. He had no worries putting the 22-year-old centre-back straight in.
Tuanzebe began in a three, alongside Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw, before United switched system midway through the second half.
On a couple of separate occasions he was left one on one with Mbappe, and he stood up to the test, dispossessing him of the ball without going to ground.
Tuanzebe has the physical attributes to be a top defender. He is quick, and he is strong. What has let him down, ironically, has been his body, when it comes to staying fit.
This game hopefully can be a turning point for him. Tuanzebe’s performance against world class opponents was a statement game.
He made seven clearances, more than any other United player.
Former United midfielder Owen Hargreaves told BT Sport: “Good luck getting this guy out of the team. He’s an athlete. He smells the danger.”
Defence has been a problem for United this season, and Tuanzebe has shown he is a very real solution.
He was only in the team due to a minor injury to Harry Maguire. More games like this and he will be putting the captain’s place under pressure.
There will be more big challenges to come, but United could not have asked for more from Tuanzebe, considering the circumstances.
United fans were left raving about his performance. Here is a look at some of the reaction on Twitter…
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- Solskjaer took a team selection gamble which paid off
- Facundo Pellistri shows why Manchester United signed him
- Youngster Tom Wooster appears to have signed for Manchester United
- Joel Pereira gets his chance on loan and concedes four
- Two players Manchester United need to drop against Istanbul Basaksehir
- Bruno Fernandes’s creative strengths stood out during United’s win