Axel Tuanzebe should already be a household name at Manchester United and possibly in the Premier League. Axel was the first of the teenage academy players named on the bench by Louis Van Gaal, last season, he was named as an used substitute against Crystal Palace on the 31st October. An injury last season stopped his progress and when the likes of Fosu-Mensah, Rashford, Borthwick-Jackson, Riley, Weir and Love all handed debuts and mostly all impressed, Axel was looking to get back to fitness and regain his place in the U21 side. He made his comeback at Old Trafford, replacing Wayne Rooney and then started his first game since December in the game that clinched the U21 Premier League title, at Tottenham, in April. It's safe to say, if he didn't get injured he'd have maybe 9 or 10 first team games under his belt already.
Tuanzebe & Rashford in the Manchester United U10s
This season he's been a steady 9 out of 10 performer. Impressing every week. Far too good for this level of football and seemingly not going out on loan. Warren Joyce handed Axel the U23 captain's armband and he's taken to the role like a natural. A strong, aggressive tackler. Excellent decision maker. Good communicator. There's hardly any weaknesses to his game, and I believe he's ready for that step up.
A handful of academy players are regularly training with the first team, with Axel being one and Jose Mourinho was already well aware of Tuanzebe, back in July when he selected him for the Wigan friendly, "I don't know them [Tuanzebe and Tyrell Warren] well but I just trust Nicky Butt, John Murtough and the structure's judgement, when they say we have a few players who, in a couple of years, can be first-team players."
Youth players typically need bad-luck to be their good luck. Marcus Rashford's emergence was because he was handed an opportunity when Anthony Martial was injured in the warm up before the FC Midtjylland game. He took that opportunity and ran with it. The injury to Eric Bailly might just hand that chance to Axel, although I'm not sure he will be handed a start any time soon, but he may find himself on the bench and if he gets the chance, he's got to take it.