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Who is Axel Tuanzebe? Manchester United’s promising youngster starting against Arsenal

All you need to know about the rising young star tipped to have a big career at Old Trafford

Axel Tuanzebe’s name stuck out like a sore thumb on Man United’s team-sheet to play Arsenal.

But who is?

PA:Press Association
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Axel Tuanzebe is a 19-year-old footballer at Manchester United who is regarded as one of the brightest young prospects in the country.

He was born in Bunia in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but moved to the UK when he was eight after his parents emigrated to Rochdale.

Tuanzebe was accelerated through the United system and was first named on the bench for the first team when he was just 17 for the match against Crystal Palace.

Injury slowed up his progress last season but he did train with the United first team squad in pre-season where he first caught the eye of Jose Mourinho.

Axel Tuanzebe, pictured with Paul Pogba, has joined in first team training with United

Getty Images
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What type of player is he?

Tuanzebe has spent most of his short career playing as a central defender, and is rated for his excellent ability to read the game.

At 6ft 1in there are bigger players, but Tuanzebe is still able to match up physically and his speed and agility has seen him develop a reputation for rarely having to make a tackle because he is so quick to spot danger.

He has also been encouraged to play further forward in a holding midfield role, and there is a belief he has the all round game to make a big impact in that position.

In his first year out of school he was named United youth team captain, with former coach Paul McGuiness saying: It was the first time I’d picked a first-year scholar as captain.

“I don’t think that has happened since Gary Neville was youth team skipper. Axel did a very good job, on and off the field.”

Jose Mourinho is close to handing Axel Tuanzebe his Manchester United debut

Getty Images
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Where do I recognise the name from?

Jose Mourinho gave Axel Tuanzebe his first appearance in the senior United side against Wigan Athletic.

The January sales of Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay have created space in his squad so Mourinho decided to promote the youngster.

Tuanzebe was named in the squad which travelled to Hull for the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.

And he has been named on the bench for the Manchester derby at the Etihad.

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Can Axel Tuanzebe play for England?

Having been born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Axel Tuanzebe is qualified to play for the country of his birth.

But the defender now has dual British citizenship after moving to Rochdale in the north-west of England with his family when he was eight.

Since then he has gone on to represent England at under-19 level and is available to the Three Lions in the future.