Axel Tuanzebe wants Man Utd youngsters to emulate 'Class of 92'

By Sports Desk April 05, 2020

Axel Tuanzebe wants the crop of Manchester United academy graduates in the first team to emulate the achievements of the lauded 'Class of 92' generation.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has put greater emphasis on bringing youngsters into the senior fold since taking the job on a permanent basis last year.

Tuanzebe, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay, Mason Greenwood, Brandon Williams, Tahith Chong, James Garner and Angel Gomes are all United academy products to have been involved this season.

Last December, the Red Devils passed 4,000 consecutive matches in all competitions with an academy graduate involved in the matchday squad.

Centre-back Tuanzebe is hopeful they can continue to be a core part of the senior set-up for years to come, much as Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Gary and Phil Neville spearheaded successful years under Alex Ferguson.

"It's just like the 'Class of 92', that's something we've been wanting to replicate," he told United's website.

"This group of lads now that we have coming through, the oldest being Andreas and Scott, the youngest being Angel, Jimmy, Brandon and Mase, that bunch there can build the new foundation for the club.

"We have the club's identity installed in us. We help portray that identity to foreign players and help teach them the way of our club and to become better people, better players.

"It's something that's been the club's identity for many, many years and I'm sure there'll be more players to come through."

Tuanzebe believes last season's shock victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last 16 proves the quality in the United ranks.

Five academy graduates played as Solskjaer's side, weakened by injury and suspension, claimed a 3-1 win at Parc des Princes to progress to the last eight on away goals after losing the first leg at Old Trafford 2-0.

"It speaks for itself, really. For so many boys to be involved in a Champions League game away from home, I don't think it's really been done," Tuanzebe added.

"The talent coming through is overwhelming. A lot are playing first-team football now, and a lot of them are capable of going to other teams in the Premier League and playing first-team football.

"So, I think our academy is very strong and obviously there's just more to come."

Related items

  • Pioli 'cannot imagine' Milan without Donnarumma as talks with Ibrahimovic continue Pioli 'cannot imagine' Milan without Donnarumma as talks with Ibrahimovic continue

    Stefano Pioli "cannot imagine" Milan without Gianluigi Donnarumma and says the club are convinced veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic should stay for another season.

    Milan director Ricky Massara revealed last week that discussions are ongoing over new deals for both players.

    Donnarumma made his debut as a 16-year-old in 2015-16 and is contracted to the Rossoneri until 2021, while the short-team deal signed by Ibrahimovic in January has expired.

    And head coach Pioli, who signed a two-year extension of his own last month, is eager for both players to pen fresh terms.

    "I cannot imagine a Milan without Donnarumma," he told La Repubblica. "He is 21 years old, he already has experience and has even been captain. 

    "He is already among the top three or four goalkeepers in the world and will become the best."

    Pioli added: "Ibrahimovic makes everything easy. It is wrong to refer to age with him. He is 100 per cent a professional and makes every training session competitive.

    "Paolo [Maldini], [Ivan] Gazidis, Massara and myself are all convinced he should continue with us.

    "From the economic perspective, it is right that I stay out of things, but we are all aware of what he has given us."

    Milan ended the 2019-20 campaign strongly by going 13 games without defeat in all competitions upon their return to action in June.

    Pioli was rewarded with a new deal and insists he paid little notice to speculation that Ralf Rangnick had been lined up to replace him during the close-season.

    "Gazidis and the Elliott fund kept their word," he said. "They told me I would be judged at the end of the season.

    "It didn't make sense to waste energy on things I was unable to control. I've not seen how Rangnick's teams play. I only concentrated on my own work with my players and staff."

  • Spain to play Portugal in October friendly Spain to play Portugal in October friendly

    Spain have announced they will travel to Portugal for a friendly on October 7. 

    The fixture between the neighbouring countries will be staged in Lisbon ahead of both featuring in Nations League games during the October international window. 

    Luis Enrique's squad are scheduled to host Switzerland on October 10 before travelling to Ukraine three days later - Germany are the other team in Group 4. 

    Defending champions Portugal, meanwhile, are away to France on October 11, followed by a home game against Sweden.

    Spain are also set for friendly duty against the Netherlands in November, with that meeting originally set to take place in March before the coronavirus pandemic caused major changes to the schedule.

    Euro 2020 was pushed back a year due to the COVID-19 crisis, with the tournament now set for June and July in 2021.

  • Pogba 'the ideal gift' for Pirlo at Juventus, says Toni Pogba 'the ideal gift' for Pirlo at Juventus, says Toni

    Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba would be the "ideal gift" for Andrea Pirlo following his appointment as Juventus head coach, according to former team-mate Luca Toni.

    The France international won eight major honours in four seasons with Juve - three of those playing alongside Pirlo - before returning to Old Trafford in 2016.

    Pogba was strongly linked with a move back to the Allianz Stadium last year and is into the final season of his United contract, though there is an option to extend that by 12 months.

    Retired forward Toni, who played with Pirlo at both club and international level, believes Pogba would be the perfect signing to mark a new chapter at former club Juventus.

    "Knowing Andrea, he will start building from midfield," he told Tuttosport. "The ideal gift would be Pogba. I don't know if that's possible, but it would certainly be the best option.

    "Andrea will not be a coach who focuses on defending and counter-attacking. He loves to dominate the ball and will want to impose that on his team.

    "I don't know what system he will use and I don't think it matters. Andrea is intelligent and flexible."

    Pirlo was named Juve's new head coach on Saturday, hours after Maurizio Sarri's sacking on the back of the Italian champions' last-16 exit against Lyon in the Champions League.

    Fabio Capello tipped Pirlo to replicate the success of three-time Scudetto-winning boss Antonio Conte, but Toni thinks he is more similar to Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola.

    "Character wise, he's more like Pep," he said. "Having said that, Antonio impressed him a lot during his three years at Juventus.

    "But in terms of group management, he was fortunate enough to be coached by the two best: [Carlo] Ancelotti and [Max] Allegri.

    "All useful experiences, but in the end, he will be himself. He will be Pirlo and he will go his own way. Without pretending or copying anyone."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.