Up until now, things haven’t quite happened for Axel Tuanzebe in his Manchester United career.
Sent out on loan to Aston Villa for the second time last summer following an injury hit loan spell in the Midlands in the second half of the previous campaign, it felt as though Tuanzebe was set to become something of an afterthought around Old Trafford.
That however, may no longer be the case, after United’s Head of Academy Nicky Butt told the club’s official website that that he believes that the 21-year-old “is going to have a good career at Manchester United”.
To hear that coming from Butt, who had played for so long and won so much at United, will surely have been a huge confidence boost for Tuanzebe, and a big source of motivation heading into the play-offs.
Tuanzebe has been impressive for Villa during their explosive second half of the season that has seen them secure that top six spot, but he will know that until he proves himself at the top level Butt’s comments will be viewed by many as simply words of encouragement.
If Tuanzebe is to play a part in securing a Premier League return for Villa, then he will have proved that he can compete in games that have a high amount of pressure riding on them.
Given how settled and popular he has become at Villa, that may even give him the chance to return to the club next season, allowing United to get an idea of how he can cope when competing at the top level.
Considering how important the raft of loanees, including Tuanzebe, Villa have brought in have been to the club’s performances this season, and the spirit that is evident around Villa Park, you feel that could be an outcome that goes down well with all three parties.
It’s now down to the tough centre-back to back up this praise by shutting out a very effective West Brom side in tomorrow’s west Midlands derby.