New Rio Ferdinand to Captain Manchester United

Next Rio Ferdinand takes Manchester United captaincy

Being labelled the next Rio Ferdinand is a big responsibility for any Manchester United player. Regardless of what some people think of his off field persona there’s no doubting that Ferdinand was the most accomplished English defender of his generation. So to have a Manchester United youth player likened to such a United great is some accolade. The question is, is the boy good enough?

Step forward Axel Tuanzebe. Recently promoted to Manchester United U23’s captain, Tuanzebe is highly thought of within Old Trafford and many fans prediction to be the next United youth product to follow Lingard, Rashford and Fosu-Mensah in to the first team. Even Jose Mourinho singled Tuanzebe out for praise after the Wigan preseason preview. Mourinho was asked why Tuanzebe only came on for the last ten minutes of the game, to which he replied “Everyone within the club knows what Tuanzebe can do. Ten minutes is more than enough. He has a great future”.

Being handed the captaincy of what is in effect Manchester United’s reserve team is a huge achievement in itself. At only 18 years of age, Tuanzebe doesn’t turn 19 until next month, he’s one of the youngest in the U23 side. So to be given the captaincy speaks volumes about his leadership skills and personality. Another huge bonus on top of what is already a very talented footballer.

Lightening fast, strong and athletic, and standing tall at 6 foot, Tuanzebe has all the skills in his locker to develop in to a top class United defender. But it’s his reading of the game and ball distribution that draw parallels with Rio Ferdinand. For a defender, Tuanzebe very rarely goes to ground or makes last ditch tackles. This is because, like Rio in his United prime, Axel’s reading of a game is sensational for one so young.

So remember the name. Axel Tuanzebe, United’s next big youth star.

It’s now in the hands of Mourinho and how long he waits to blood Tuanzebe in the first team?

One suspects it will be sooner rather than later. Because for all the fantastic signings United have made recently, none will be more celebrated than a Mourinho Manchester United youth prospect coming through and silencing the critics.

By Mark Goldbridge


Football has always been my passion, a passion fueled by my late Grandfather whose love for the game was impossible not to share. I grew up with stories of Duncan Edwards and the Busby Babes, who my Granddad had seen first hand, and it was there my interest in the greatest football story ever told began. From the tragedy of the Busby Babes to the resurrection through Best, Law and Charlton. Then back in to obscurity for a quarter of a century until a certain Sir Alex Ferguson rolled in to town. Once you learn the history of the club it's hard not to fall in love with it. And for that I'll always be grateful to my Pops.

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