Tuanzebe agent accuses Gerrard of anti-United bias

There is no love lost between Manchester United and Liverpool, and Steven Gerrard knows this as much as anybody.

Now by extension, United are unlikely to be doing any business with Aston Villa any time soon.

Earlier in the season, United agreed to send Axel Tuanzebe on loan to Aston Villa, while Dean Smith was manager.

Tuanzebe sealed a loan move to Napoli last week, after rejecting Gerrard’s pleas to stay.

Photo by Franco Romano/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Gerrard told Sky Sports at the end of December he even wanted to sign him permanently, commenting: “It’s very much in Ax’s hands and Manchester United’s hands. We want him here, we would be delighted to keep him. We don’t just see it as a loan until the end of the season.”

His actions spoke a little differently, and convinced Tuanzebe to leave for a new exciting opportunity.

Gerrard accused

Tuanzebe’s agent claims Gerrard did not pick the centre-back because he was a Manchester United player.

He told ESPN: “Following the arrival of Steven Gerrard at Villa Park, it felt as if the rivalry between Man United and Liverpool came to life.

“For the avoidance of doubts, Axel was very open to staying at Villa, he loves the fans, being in Birmingham but he also has a career that he can only build and reach his full potential in an environment where opportunities to play are fair.”

Tuanzebe played 10 minutes for Napoli on his debut last night, and was praised afterwards by coach Luciano Spalletti.

This is already more minutes than he played under Gerrard, who only picked him as a late substitute twice, totalling just eight minutes.

Photo by Franco Romano/NurPhoto via Getty Images

He had previously played 677 minutes this season under Dean Smith across nine matches.

It looks like Tuanzebe has made the right decision to leave, whether or not his claims of anti-United bias are correct. It’s possible of course that Gerrard simply preferred to have permanent players in his squad, although with Philippe Coutinho arriving on loan, this is hardly going to ring true.

Tuanzebe can prove a point at Napoli that Villa were wrong not to use him more often.

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