Axel Tuanzebe produced a stellar performance on what was his Premier League debut and first start for Manchester United during their 2-0 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday.
The 19-year-old, with Jose Mourinho determined to rest players ahead of Thursday’s crucial semi-final second leg with Celta Vigo, was handed his first start in a Man United shirt at right back.
And he took to the task at hand with admirable resolve, battling hard to keep Alexis Sanchez at pay and moving the ball confidently all game.
His numbers from the game shed light on what was a highly promising display at the Emirates.
Tuanzebe's game by numbers vs. Arsenal:
50% tackles won
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) May 7, 2017
This was a real baptism of fire for Tuanzebe: featuring at right back – not his natural position – alongside the dramatically out of sorts centre back pairing of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones whilst having to keep tabs on both Alexis Sanchez and Kieran Gibbs could have gone terribly wrong. But this was a performance that dramatically belied his complete lack of Premier League experience.
From minute one he looked at home, calmly shifting the ball forward and maintaining his positional awareness on the right hand side, even with Sanchez and Gibbs flying at him on a regular basis. He will take immense confidence from what will now be an important benchmark ahead of more first team opportunities under Mourinho.