With every cloud, there is a silver lining. That feels like the case for Manchester United this evening. The Red Devils lost 2-0 at The Emirates Stadium, all-but ending their chances at finishing in the top four this season.
With that said, there was one positive to take away from the match. Jose Mourinho handed a Premier League and full Manchester United debut to Axel Tuanzebe – a 19-year-old defender born in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Predominantly a centre-back, Tuanzebe started the match as our right-back. Throughout the toughly-fought fixture, he more than held his own against Alexis Sanchez, and to be quite honest, he didn’t give the Chilean a sniff.
Before the game, Mourinho explained his decision to start the youngster in this match, and also shed some light as to why we hadn’t seen him play sooner.
‘It was almost coming in a couple of matches, especially against Burnley.’ Jose Mourinho is quoted as saying by The Metro.
‘But for some reason, I couldn’t give him a chance and in that moment I told him don’t be disappointed because your chance will arrive and when it arrives it will be a big chance.’
‘It is a big opportunity for him but it is big pressure, to play against Arsenal is not easy for anyone, especially for a kid who is going to play his first game so I expect the kid to be as relaxed as possible and to play the best he can.’
It’s pretty clear that the self-proclaimed Special One trusts the young defender wholeheartedly. It’s also brilliant that Tuanzebe repaid that faith with a stunning display.
Hopefully, this is just the start for him and he can kick on from here. We desperately need him to, particularly with how poor both Chris Smalling and Phil Jones looked recently.
With the Premier League pretty much over for us, we should see him play in the last few games from here on out. It’ll be a good opportunity to show the world what he can do.