Danny Welbeck, Wes Brown, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs have all been recipients of Manchester United's Young Player of the Year award in the last 25 years. It was won by James Wilson 12 months ago and now this season's winner will give fans plenty of reason to get excited.


It was 17-year-old Axel Tuanzebe who collected the prestigious prize at United's annual award ceremony on Tuesday night, recognising his role as the best player at Under-18 level in 2014/15.

The central defender is already turning quite a few heads in the club's esteemed youth setup and despite being younger than many of his team-mates, it was Tuanzebe that coach Paul McGuinness named as U-18 captain this season.


Speaking after presenting the youngster with the Jimmy Murphy trophy, named for the legendary former coach, McGuinness explained, "I made a choice I'd not made before.


"I made a first-year player my captain and the reason I did it was because has outstanding potential as a leader. I thought I'd give him as much practice as he could get. That's what we've done this year and he's not let us down."


Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997, Tuanzebe moved to north west England as a young child. He grew up and went to school just north of Manchester, in Rochdale, and such was his talent for football he had been snapped up by United scouts at the tender age of just 11.

Described as "powerful and athletic", the youngster has played almost 30 times for the Under-18s this season and even played three times at Under-21 level. One of those appearances came against Tottenham, which saw Tuanzebe rub shoulders with first-teamers Victor Valdes, Rafael, Adnan Januzaj and Radamel Falcao.


He is comfortable on the ball and a strong runner, something all modern defenders must be, and, even at such a young age, is already thought to be on the radar of manager Louis van Gaal. Earlier this year, the Dutchman was said to be "impressed" by what he has seen of the teenager, which could yet lead to a place in this summer's pre-season tour squad.


Manchester United v Burnley - Premier League

Tuanzebe should also be able take inspiration from the fact that Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair have both become established members of the first team this season, highlighting a clear path to the senior squad within two or three years if he can continue his current trajectory.


The player himself is just pleased to be progressing well. Standing up in front of his more senior colleagues on Tuesday, he said, "It's been a good season for myself. I think I've had a lot of support from all the coaches and staff. A lot of the players were backing me throughout the season because I was captain as well.


"It's been a long road and a lot of players have come and gone. I think there are four players from my Under-11s team who are still here now and it's been a great experience."


A bigger role in the Under-21 team is Tuanzebe's next target, but it already looks as though United have a very special talent on their hands indeed.

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