Axel Tuanzebe has put himself in contention to start Europa League final

Unfortunately it is looking less likely Harry Maguire will be ready to feature in the Europa League final.

Speaking after United’s victory over Wolves, Solskjaer admitted Maguire is struggling to be fit for the fixture with Villarreal.

This puts forward the question as to who will replace Maguire if he is not passed ready to play.

Photo by ANDY RAIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Axel Tuanzebe steps up

Victor Lindelof is likely to start, especially after resting against Wolves. So barring any unlikely three-man defence shenanigans, it will be between Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe to partner Lindelof.

Both players started United’s win over Wolves, and it was Tuanzebe who produced the better performance.

After also starting the midweek game against Fulham, Tuanzebe may just have managed to overtake Bailly in the pecking order at a crucial time.

With the match days away, United need a player who is on form right now. Eric Bailly was playing great football back in January, but at the moment, Tuanzebe just looks sharper.

He blocked two shots against Wolves, more than any player on the pitch, and also made seven clearances; again the highest of all on show at Molineux. Tuanzebe won two tackles, more than any player in the United defence.

Bailly won five aerial duels, but as always, he had a couple of hair-raising moments which in a cup final, you could simply do without.

Special moment

This has been a tough season for Tuanzebe, who has stayed fit throughout, but has not had the game time he would have wanted.

It has meant when he has played, at times he has struggled to repeat the high standards he set himself away against PSG.

Photo by Aurelien Meunier – PSG/PSG via Getty Images

This performance against PSG back in September shows Tuanzebe’s capability to step up on the big occasion, and thats what United need on Wednesday night.

The academy graduate has played 36 career games for United, and the 37th could be the most special one of all.

With Maguire struggling for fitness, Tuanzebe is in with a fighting chance of starting in Gdansk. If he does get the nod, it will feel like he deserves it.

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