Harry Maguire has made a “massive impact” at Manchester United and deserves to have taken the captain’s armband in his debut campaign at Old Trafford, says Axel Tuanzebe.
The Red Devils moved to make the England international centre-half the most expensive defender in world football when snapping him up from Leicester in the summer of 2019.
An £80 million ($104m) package was required to get that deal over the line, with United buying into the present ability and future potential of a 26-year-old talent.
Maguire has settled quickly in new surroundings and impressed enough to be named skipper on the back of Ashley Young’s departure to Serie A giants Inter.
Tuanzebe is not surprised to see a commanding figure filling such a role, with his leadership skills clear for all to see despite having spent a relatively brief amount of time in Manchester.
“Massive respect to him for getting the captaincy,” Tuanzebe told United’s official website of Maguire.
“For me, I don’t think it is ever about how long you have been somewhere. It is the impact you give and the time you spend with the lads.
“He’s had a massive impact on the club, he has been a real example and has managed to lead the team.
“We are improving. We are a young side and given time, I think we will be very strong and contending for real titles. But I just want to send massive congratulations to Harry, because I think he deserves it with the impact that he’s given to the club.”
Further additions have been made to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad since Maguire arrived, with a €55m (£47m/$60m) deal wrapped up for Bruno Fernandes in January.
Tuanzebe said of the Portugal international midfielder: “Bruno has been a nice guy, very calm and collected, he has represented himself well in the short time he has been here, he is very respectful and I wish him a good career at Manchester United.
“I am very excited to see him on the pitch. I have obviously seen clips of him at Sporting and he seemed to be a very integral player for them. Hopefully, he can be that for us as well.”
Odion Ighalo also linked up with the Red Devils during the winter window and Tuanzebe is looking forward to facing a powerful striker in training.
He added on the former Watford frontman and the challenge he will pose to his own side, as well as Premier League opposition: “Yeah, most definitely, because that is how you learn and that is how to improve.
“I remember my time at Villa. Me and Yannick Bolasie, in every training session we were at it! That is the only way you improve, when you have really honest people challenging every day.
“I am very excited to see what he brings to the table. I am sure he is strong and powerful. That can only develop me in finding ways to deal with that. I will be very grateful to have somebody like that on the team.”