Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal named Congolese 18-year-old defender Axel Tuanzebe on the bench for their Barclays Premier League trip to Crystal on Saturday.

Tuanzebe, born in Bunia, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, sits on United’s bench at Selhurst Park alongside goalkeeper Sergio Romero, Ashley Young, Michael Carrick, Lingard, Marouane Fellaini and Pereira.

The teenager, who has dual British nationality, comes into Van Gaal’s first team in the absence of crocked England centre-back Phil Jones.

Tuanzebe has been nurtured by United’s Academy since the age of eight after growing up in Rochdale.

He is captain of United’s Under-18 team, an imposing figure who is comfortable in possession. He won the Milk Cup in 2013 and 2014 and was awarded Sports Boy of the Year by Mayor of Rochdale Keith Swift in 2009 and has been making good progress ever since.

United’s academy adviser Les Kershaw said: “He’s a very, very good player.

“And is one of them that I really like because he has a strong personality.”

Meanwhile, here’s United Starting X1 against the Eagles: De Gea, Darmian, Blind, Smalling, Rojo, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Herrera, Mata, Martial and Rooney.


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