Axel Tuanzebe made his first start of the season for Manchester United in the Europa League win against Astana.

The centre-back lined up alongside Phil Jones as part of a makeshift defence with Marcos Rojo and Diogo Dalot.

Early on he had little to do, and when he was called upon, he was equal to the task. His strength was evident, easily muscling an Astana attacker off the ball when he threatened to break away.

What was really noticeable was how confident Tuanzebe was with the ball at his feet, and his willingness to bring the ball out from the back.

On a couple of occasions in the first half he was seen as far ahead as the final third as he moved forward to join the attack.

Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Tuanzebe’s performance was praised by BT Sport pundit Michael Owen, who said he thought the 21-year-old had been ‘really good’.

Robbie Savage told BT’s commentary he felt Tuanzebe had shown ‘great pace’ and ‘read the game well’.

As the second half went on, there was less and less for Tuanzebe to do defensively especially after Mason Greenwood scored United’s opener.

He completed 92 per cent of his passes, and won eight aerial duels, more than any player on the pitch.

With a clean sheet to show for it, this was a very encouraging start to the season for the young centre-back.


Here is a look at how some United fans reacted to Tuanzebe’s display…
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