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Marcus Rashford gives verdict on five Manchester United academy prospects

Manchester Evening News logo Manchester Evening News 3 days ago Liam Corless
a crowd of people watching a football ball: Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United striker © 2019 Manchester United FC Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United striker

Marcus Rashford has given his verdict on five of Manchester United's promising youngsters and told Axel Tuanzebe it is his time to shine at Old Trafford.

Tuanzebe was an unused substitute for United against Chelsea on Sunday and appears to have moved ahead of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's defensive pecking order.

After an impressive loan spell at Aston Villa last term, Rashford reckons Tuanzebe, 21, is ready to make the step up for United.

(Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images) © Getty (Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

"For me, it’s no surprise to see the progress Axel has made," Rashford told United Review. "I’ve been playing with Axel since we were kids and I remember, at about 16 or 17, he was the toughest one-v-one defender that I’d ever trained or played against. I’ve always expected this from him. It’s funny how things work out, but now’s his time."

Tahith Chong, 19, and Angel Gomes, 18, are two other players United have high hopes for and Rashford outlined their key strengths.

"Chongy is a very exciting player when he’s on the ball," Rashford added. "For me, you just want him to express himself more because I’ve seen him play in the Under-18s and he’ll run at a defender all day long and give them a hard time for 90 minutes.

(Martin Rickett/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images) © Getty (Martin Rickett/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images)

"When he’s come to the first team... you all saw the game against Inter Milan, when he was just up and at them for the time he was on the pitch. That’s what you want to see.

"Angel is another one who’s been known in United’s system as one of the top players for many years. It’s probably taken him a bit more time than he expected – he’s smaller than pretty much all the players he plays against, but he’s a clever kid so he can manipulate his body to get in good positions, without necessarily using the physical side of the game.

"He’s a very clever player and you just want those players to keep developing and, the way to do that, is to get game time."

(Photo by Trond Tandberg/Getty Images) © Getty (Photo by Trond Tandberg/Getty Images)

At 17 and 18 respectively, Mason Greenwood and James Garner are the younger players of the bunch and Rashford expects both of them to go on and prove their worth.

"Jimmy [Garner] is very mature for his age," Rashford added. "When I started playing for the first team at the same age he’s at now, I probably wasn’t as mature as him in the way I was playing. He’s in the midfield too so he has to mature quicker, but, for me, he’s a very good player and I want to see him and the others grow and become Manchester United players.

"Mason is quite laid-back. He just likes to enjoy his football. I always think to myself that he’s not someone who you would necessarily give loads of information to. Just tell him a few bits and let him just play; that’s how he gets about with his football."

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