Axel Tuanzebe’s form for Aston Villa in recent weeks has been extremely impressive, with the on-loan Manchester United central defender now coming of age.
Tuanzebe initially joined Villa on loan in January, but only made five appearances for the Championship club before returning to United, with injury cutting his spell at Villa Park short.
The defender returned to the Championship side during the summer, however, and has made 16 appearances in all competitions this term.
Tuanzebe turned 21 on Wednesday, and his form in recent weeks would have certainly captured the attention of parent club United, who have been pretty rotten defensively in the opening months of the 2018-19 season.
The England Under-21 international was used as a right-back by Steve Bruce in the early weeks of the campaign, but was switched to central defence upon Dean Smith’s arrival as head coach, and Tuanzebe has now taken his performances to a new level.
Villa have kept clean sheets in three of their last five Championship matches with Tuanzebe playing in central defence alongside James Chester.
One of the first names on the teamsheet, Tuanzebe will learn from John Terry during his time at Villa Park as he bids to become a Premier League defender.
Villa have climbed into 11th in the Championship with three wins in their last five matches, and Tuanzebe’s calmness and composure has seen him avoid a single yellow card in the second tier thus far this season.
According to WhoScored, Tuanzebe has also had a pass success rate of 81.1% in his 14 Championship appearances this season, which is very impressive indeed when taking everything into account.
Villa would absolutely love to keep Tuanzebe on a permanent basis, but it seems an impossible task. For now, the 6ft 1in ace is playing a key role in the team’s improvement, which could yet yield a promotion challenge.