Solskjaer To Make Academy Graduate A First-Team Regular Next Season

Manchester United's Axel Tuanzebe with manager Jose Mourinho.

Reuters / Phil Noble

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United stint hasn’t exactly followed the script.

The dreamy start they enjoyed, up till the historic ousting of PSG in the Champions League in March, all came crashing down as the Red Devils were ousted out of the FA Cup, then battered to a UCL exit by Barcelona, and now look unlikely to qualify for further Champions League football next season.

However, the Norwegian gaffer is determined to turn things around next season, and the pre-season build-up and roster overhaul will all play a vital role in the sort of United that will emerge post summer.

One of the things that Solskjaer was expected to do quite heavily was promote youth talent and academy graduates at the club, following in the footsteps of Sir Alex Ferguson. Now, he may be presented with an opportunity to do just that.

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As per the Daily Mail, Solskjaer has been instructed to closely follow Axel Tuanzebe during the pre-season tour and see if the youngster has it in him to break into the first-team come summer. The 21-year-old centre-back has been on loan at Aston Villa, and has impressed thoroughly.

This is further cemented when one views that the English international was nursing a bad injury that plagued him this season. Despite that, his recent weeks at Villa have been impeccable, and Solskjaer is expected to give him a shot on this merit.

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Defensive woes have been damaging the club’s chances for seasons now, and yet, reports have suggested, rather menacingly, that the Norwegian gaffer may not purchase specialist centre-back after all.

If that is true, then the likes of Tuanzebe can get a golden opportunity to carve a regular place in the starting lineup.

With Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo’s injury woes and the relative inconsistency with which Chris Smalling and Phil Jones operate, the youngster may just be an apt partner for Victor Lindelof at the back.