Manchester United: Axel Tuanzebe says being in defence is 'natural' for him

Axel Tuanzebe says he has always been a defender, even when playing at his local field in Rochdale as a youngster.

Having been called up to the senior squad by Louis van Gaal just ahead of his 18th birthday, this Saturday, the focus on Tuanzebe's talents have taken a huge turn.

An unknown name, largely, in Tuanzebe was printed on the teamsheet against Crystal Palace in the Premier League and although he didn't get on from the substitutes bench it was a big moment for the then 17-year-old.

Tuanzebe says defending is 'natural' for him

Speaking to the official Manchester United website, Tuanzebe said that "defender has always been the most natural position for me."

The youngster has previously played at defensive midfield as well as at centre-back, as he mentions. "I would say I can fill in in other positions but, naturally, it always felt right at the back."

"Even in little five-a-side games, I would always end up at the back of the field just to ensure everything was safe."

Tuanzebe's first call-up came just a few days after he captained the Manchester United under-19 side in the UEFA Youth League against CSKA Moscow under-18 side. His talents were recognised last year when he was named as Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year at United.

Tuanzebe a huge prospect at Man United

Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tuanzebe moved to England, and Rochdale, when he was 4 and has been playing football keenly since. He is a huge prospect within the Man United youth system, seen as one of the most likely to break out of the academy and into the first team. 

With great strength and stature, Tuanzebe can also play as a ball-playing defender thanks to his occasional appearances at defensive midfield.