Home » Gary Neville reacts to Axel Tuanzebe’s debut against Arsenal

Gary Neville reacts to Axel Tuanzebe’s debut against Arsenal

by Leo Nieboer

Gary Neville has heaped praise on Axel Tuanzebe for the way he conducted himself on his debut during Manchester United’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal in the Premier League.

The 19-year-old was handed his first start in the senior side as Jose Mourinho looked to rest players at the Emirates ahead of Thursday’s clash with Celta Vigo.

And he didn’t disappoint, holding firm against the onrushing threat of Alexis Sanchez and Kieran Gibbs on the right hand side.

Neville, speaking on Sky Sports, was quick to highlight Tuanzebe’s display as a rare highlight for Man United on an otherwise galling afternoon.

“I think he did really well at full-back, against a fantastic player in Alexis Sanchez,” he said.

“He stuck to his task really well. I’m sure if you spoke to Sanchez after the game he’d say he’s had a tough game. He wasn’t able to get the better of the youngster.”

As Tuanzebe was limbering up to make his senior debut against Wigan Athletic, a booming shout came from behind him. It was no other than his teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic; the Swede reminded him to keep it simple, to nail the basics.

And you could tell that, while the Swede wasn’t there at the Emirates, Tuanzebe was channeling the 35-year-old’s advice once again. He stuck to what he knew, calmly stroking the ball to teammates in space and maintaining a solid position, occasionally drifting inside to track Sanchez.

Phil Jones and Chris Smalling notably struggled with the pace of Arsenal’s attacking movements, but Tuanzebe espoused a sense of assurance – a clear desire to stick to the job and, as Zlatan may have reminded him in the lead-up to the game, keep things simple.

Supporters will hope to see the youngster, following a regimented display, receive more minutes during the closing stages of the season.

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