Manchester United U19 coach Nicky Butt has praised young Red Devils' defenders Axel Tuanzebe and Ro-Shaun Williams following their 0-0 draw against CSKA Moscow in the U19 Uefa Youth League. The former United midfielder is confident that the defensive duo can make the step up into the senior team in the future.
Butt was impressed with the duo's ability to keep the Russian club's forwards quiet and pointed at their ability to show composure during one v one situations. The class of '92 midfielder, who graduated through the academy along with the likes of Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes, clearly knows the hard work that requires making the step up from the youth team to the senior squad.
Tuanzebe, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been with the club's academy since he was eight. Louis van Gaal has already earmarked the defender after the Dutchman named the youngster on the bench for the game against Crystal Palace. The 17-year-old was also named the captain of the United U18's despite being a first-year scholar.
Williams, meanwhile, is an England U18 international, who has been tipped by U18 coach Paul McGuinness to take over the captain's armband from defensive partner Tuanzebe, in case of the latter's promotion to the senior squad. The young Manchester-born defender is known for his athleticism and pace after he broke Darren Williams' 100m record at the Ashton-upon-Mersey school in 2014. The record had stood for close to 25 years.
"The lads at the back were brilliant. The way we performed meant we played a lot of the time one v one as well," Butt said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News. "It's a really good thing and something you've got to do if you play for Manchester United at the top level, defend one v one."
"I thought they did that and I was really confident with them doing that. They proved to me they're more than capable of playing at a high level," the former Red Devils midfielder added.