The academy player is the closest to breaking into the first-team after the club’s January departures, his manager has revealed

Jose Mourinho says Manchester United youngster Axel Tuanzebe could be a beneficiary of Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin’s January departures.

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Depay and Schneiderlin have joined Lyon and Everton respectively this month, leaving United with reduced numbers ahead of a busy run of fixtures. 

Mourinho has given Tuanzebe, a defender, the chance to be involved in first-team training and thinks the 19-year-old is close to making his breakthrough.

Tuanzebe is yet to make his United debut, but did make the substitutes’ bench twice for Premier League matches in 2015.

And Mourinho told MUTV: “He can [be involved in the upcoming games]. We lost Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay, two players who didn’t play many minutes or many matches for us.

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“They were two players from the squad, so we need numbers and probably Axel is one of the boys that is in the academy who is more close to playing with us.

“So we have brought him up to give him more experience, to make the first team more natural for him in case we need him to play in the upcoming matches this month, so he can be more adapted to us.”

Mourinho praised Tuanzebe in pre-season, saying you “only need 10 minutes to see his quality” after a late substitute appearance against Wigan Athletic.

The teenager could feature as early as this Thursday when United face Hull City for the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final tie, before they face Wigan in the FA Cup fourth round at Old Trafford on Sunday.