Axel Tuanzebe has been withdrawn from the England U20 World Cup squad after Jose Mourinho made it clear to the Football Association that he planned on using the youngster for Manchester United’s remaining Premier League games this season.
The 19-year-old announced himself to the watching world during Man United’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday with a composed, growingly confident first Premier League appearance at right back.
Jose Mourinho, speaking after the game, was full of praise for Tuanzebe’s attitude at the Emirates and noted that he would only improve with time.
And the Portuguese, in turn, has made it clear to the FA that he held big plans for Tuanzebe at Old Trafford over the next few weeks.
Mourinho threw down the gauntlet to Tuanzebe on Sunday: he wanted to see whether he could count on the youngster to assuage United’s personnel issues at the back over the next few week as he gears up for a potential Europa League final. This was a test, a baptism of fire, so he threw him into a makeshift back-line and up against Alexis Sanchez.
And news of his withdrawal from the England set-up demonstrates emphatically – not that we needed any further evidence – that Tuanzebe passed with flying colours, and supporters will be excited to see him further develop over the next few weeks.