Axel Tuanzebe became the second player in Manchester United history to win Player of the Year at under-18 and under-23 level in different years.
The DR Congo-born central defender has been used at right-back and in central midfield by José Mourinho in Man United’s last three Premier League games, putting in solid performances. But he rightfully earned the Denzil Haroun Reserve Team Player of the Year award on Thursday night after a fantastic season captaining the Reds’ under-23 side.
Tuanzebe named Denzil Haroun Reserve Team Player of the Year
Particularly in the first half of the season, his dominance from defence, managing to control the game with his wonderful vision and ball-playing ability, was where he stood out. In almost every under-23 game this season, before he began being involved regularly with the first team squad, Tuanzebe was a contender for man of the match. The level of consistency and brilliance makes his a deserved winner.
Two years ago, he was named Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year, the under-18 award, which Marcus Rashford won last year and Angel Gomes won this year to become the youngest ever recipient. Only Italian striker Giuseppe Rossi, now at Celta Vigo, had previously won the under-18 and under-23 awards before, in 2005 and 2006.
Tuanzebe: Dream is to be a role model at Utd
Tuanzebe said, receiving the award off Head of Academy Nicky Butt, that “the dream” is “to be a leader and a role model at this club.”
“Being winner of the Jimmy Murphy and now this one is just an honour for me. I cannot thank the coaching staff [enough], especially Nicky [Butt] because he’s had a particular emphasis on my development.”
Articulate and humble, Tuanzebe is showing his worth to Man United off the pitch as well, certainly more comfortable in this setting than he was two years ago receiving the under-18 award.
Meanwhile, Ander Herrera was voted as Fans’ Player of the Year while Antonio Valencia was Players’ Player of the Year for the second time in his career at Old Trafford.