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James Chester raves about Aston Villa's Axel Tuanzebe

 
 
Manager of Aston Villa Steve Bruce during the pre season friendly match between Aston Villa and Watford  at Villa Park on July 29, 2017 in Birmingham, England.

Has Aston Villa's Axel Tuanzebe improved since he started playing in his natural position?

Axel Tuanzebe of Aston Villa in action during a training session at Bodymoor Heath training ground on December 11, 2018 in Birmingham, England.

James Chester has suggested to Aston Villa's official website that Axel Tuanzebe has improved since Dean Smith started playing him in central defence.

The Manchester United youth has been brilliant since re-signing for Aston Villa on a season-long loan last summer, having joined the Villans last January on a temporary basis.

But fans of the West Midlands side have arguably only started seeing the best of him since Smith replaced Steve Bruce as manager.

The former Aston Villa boss consistently played the 21-year-old as a right-back, with Villa fans urging Bruce to play him in the middle.

 

And Chester, an £8 million signing in 2016 [Birmingham Mail], claims that his centre-back partner's potential is plain to see since the positional shift under Smith.

He told Aston Villa's website: "He’s been really impressive. Last season, he played right-back a lot and also picked up a few injuries so I don’t think we saw the best of him.

"But now playing next to him at centre-back, I’ve seen how good he is and how good he can be. He has all the attributes for the modern-day game.

"He’s so quick, so powerful, good on the floor, good in the air – very comfortable."

Tuanzebe himself admitted that he much prefers life in a centre-back role, telling The Birmingham Mail earlier this season: “It’s my natural position. It's where I’ve played for a long time and I feel most comfortable there. I’d only like to portray myself as a centre-back.”

The Red Devils academy graduate hasn't kicked a ball for Aston Villa in nearly a month due to injury, but the sooner he's back, the better for Smith and Villa.

Aston Villa's Axel Tuanzebe clears despite the attentions of Yeovil Town's Diallang Jaiyesimi during the Sky Bet League Two match between Yevoil Town and Mansfield Town at Huish Park on...

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