Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists giving the Manchester United captaincy to Axel Tuanzebe was not a snub to Paul Pogba.
The 21-year-old defender, who has skippered United teams throughout his progression up the youth ranks at Old Trafford, wore the armband for Wednesday’s EFL Cup match against Rochdale.
United averted a humiliating exit after being held to a 1-1 draw by their League One opponents, prevailing 5-3 on penalties.
Pogba endured a lacklustre outing in midfield and there was plenty of focus upon why a World Cup winner, who served as United’s vice-captain last season before a breakdown in relations with Jose Mourinho, was not selected to lead the team out of the tunnel.
But Solskjaer maintained he knows all he needs to about senior men like Pogba and cup goalkeeper Sergio Romero, while midweek gave him an opportunity to learn more about Tuanzebe’s appetite to lead on the big stage.
“Axel is a captain in the making, he’s a leader – why not give it to young kids?” he said in an interview with talkSPORT.
“We know we can give it to Sergio and we can give it to Paul, that’s no problem and they’ve been captains before.
“But it was Axel and how does he handle it? He was absolutely fine, he enjoyed it.
“It’s just a way of telling him that we trust him.”
Teenage striker Mason Greenwood passed up some good openings before firing United in front and he will probably be needed to lead the line in the Monday Premier League showdown against Arsenal, as Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial remain sidelined.
“Some players learned a lot [against Rochdale] and some proved to us that we can give them more responsibility,” Solskjaer added.
“Mason again showed with his goalscoring abilities why we regard him so highly.
“He has two great feet and took the penalty with his right, so he must be a nightmare for defenders having him one on one in the box.
“He can go both ways, which is for me fantastic. You can just see he has got quality and he will get his share of games.
“But he is young and we will give him time to grow.”
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