Man Utd legend Ryan Giggs gives Ole Gunnar Solskjaer surprising advice on Axel Tuanzebe

Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs believes Axel Tuanzebe is capable of playing in midfield for the Red Devils, after the defender made a surprise start against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League as part of a back three. It was Tuanzebe’s first senior appearance since December after the 22-year-old struggled with injury problems.

The youngster impressed in the role, helping United earn an important 2-1 win at the Parc des Princes over last season’s finalists and playing an important role in shutting down Kylian Mbappe.

United legend Giggs was part of Louis van Gaal’s coaching staff when Tuanzebe first progressed from the academy to the senior team back in 2015 and the Welshman believes the defender’s impressive technical attributes mean he could be moved into midfield.

Speaking on Webby & O’Neill’s YouTube channel, Giggs said: “First of all, he’s a really good lad with a good mentality. All Axel’s got to do now is stay fit, play games because he’s got all of the attributes. He can handle the ball, he can even play in midfield.

“We thought about playing him in midfield when he was fit, under Louis. He can read the game well, he’s quick – I think he showed that yesterday (against PSG).”

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However, Giggs did admit that he thinks Tuanzebe will have an important role to play for United as a defender, emphasising the need for him to play consistently now he is fully fit.

“He’s got to play games, and when he plays games, his confidence will grow, because he’s got all of the attributes to be a Manchester United centre-half.

“Now, like I say, he’s got to bang out those games and once he does that, it’s up to him to say to Ole, ‘Leave me out the team. I’m doing so well, you can’t leave me out of the team.

“That consistency, he’s got to produce performances like that over and over again. I’m sure if he stays fit, then he will be a regular in the first-team.”

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Fellow United legend Rio Ferdinand was also full of praise for Tuanzebe after his display against PSG, telling BT Sport that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should stick with the 22-year-old this season.

“This is where United have struggled in the last six to 12 months, chasing players down those channels,” he said. “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.”

Fellow BT Sport pundit Owen Hargreaves agreed with Ferdinand’s assessment, adding: “He’s not getting out of the side – if you’ve got this much athleticism in these positions.”

Speaking after the game, United goalkeeper David de Gea told MUTV of Tuanzebe’s performance: “He has been unbelievable today.

“He played against two of the best players in the world in Neymar and Mbappe so he did really, really well. I am really happy for him.

“He has been in difficult moments with the injuries but now he has shown today that he is capable of playing in big games.”

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