Rio Ferdinand names Man Utd star who is now first choice after PSG win

Date published: Wednesday 21st October 2020 3:34

Rio Ferdinand

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have been seriously impressed and will now have no choice but to make Axel Tuanzebe a regular at Manchester United, according to Rio Ferdinand.

Tuanzebe played a starring role as United went to Paris once again and recorded a win against PSG. Marcus Rashford once again grabbed the headlines in a 2-1 win.

The Red Devils produced a superb all-round display to take early control of Group H in the Champions League.

A retaken Bruno Fernandes penalty and late strike from Rashford sealed the victory. In between, Anthony Martial had gifted PSG an unlikely lifeline.

Despite Rashford taking the plaudits, it was the display of Tuanzebe that really caught the eye.

The 22-year-old defender has had to wait patiently for his chance. However, in Paris he really came of age as he blunted out one of the world’s most feared frontlines.

Indeed, Tuanzebe’s pace, athleticism and awareness really caught Ferdinand’s eye. He now reckons the England U21 cap must be first choice for United.

“This is where United have struggled in the last six to 12 months, chasing players down those channels,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.

“They can’t stay with them and it opens up the back four, back three. But here, he was smelling danger.


“Ole has just said that’s two of the best strikers in the world. He snuffed out danger on many occasions and you have to reward performances like that at a time of injuries.

“Again, first game in 10 months and to come in and play like that from out the cold you just deserve to be rewarded.”

Owen Hargreaves agreed, pointing out Tuanzebe had proven his worth by winning his battles with Mbappe.

“He’s not getting out of the side – if you’ve got this much athleticism in these positions,” said the former United midfielder.

Reflecting on how this victory without fans during a pandemic compared to their last win in Paris, Solskjaer told BT Sport: “It’s a different feeling from the last time we won here, it’s at the start of the group stage but we’ve beaten a fantastic team.

“Last time it was a knockout and it was euphoric, this is sterile without the fans but it’s still excellent and we deserved to win.

“When you go away to a team like this against Neymar and Mbappe you have to defend well and your keeper will have to make saves.

“Axel Tuanzebe is a top defender and his first game in 10 months was testament to the quality he has.

“Bruno missed two penalties in a row but he’s not going to stop taking them – he showed focus and character.

“We know we need 10 points to get through so next week’s game is very important. There are so many games.”


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Man Utd Intensity was key – Rashford

Matchwinner Rashford highlighted the superb displays from full-backs Alex Telles and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and pinpointed the team’s increased intensity as a decisive factor.

He told BT Sport: “Of course it’s a nice feeling. More importantly, we won the game. We’re in a strong position now in the group but it’s the first game. The concentration levels we showed today we have to take forward into the next game.


“For me, they were both opportunities to win the game. As a striker, in the game late on, that’s the mentality. You might only get one chance. It gets us the three points.

“It’s a good performance but also one where we have a lot to build on. I always believe in the team.

“As players it’s important to believe in the system that the manager chooses to play. We did that fantastically.

“It was tough but we kept the intensity high. We had to defend very deep at times. They have some amazing players.

“In the low block it can be tough but the guys on the sides – the full-backs – they defended unbelievable. When we defend like that man-to-man, we can do really well.

“Every game requires different tactics and a different performance but what has to stay the same is the intensity. The intensity was key for us tonight. We kept going for 90 minutes. We are very happy today.”


READ MORE: Pundit names manager who can lead United to the title


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