MUTV caught up with Axel Tuanzebe. Here is the text transcript from that interview (video here).
Interviewer: Axel, day 1 of your first tour. How are you enjoying it so far?
Axel: Yeah, it’s been good, you know. You get to watch senior players, and see how they do things, and you’re just really taking things on board. Little habits could be the difference, you know. New signings, new manager – so, it’s good to be a part of it, and good to be on board. It’s my first tour as well, so…
Interviewer: Yeah, what are your first impressions of China and the Chinese fans, there are so many of them?
Axel: Yeah, the Chinese people are lovely; they’re very welcoming, so it’s good to come here. The weather here is nice and sunny so it’s good to play football. But yeah, I like their culture, I think they’re very welcoming and polite people, so it’s good to be here.
Interviewer: You’ve talked about looking up to some senior players, but which are the players do you get along with in the tour party, and expect to spend some time with?
Axel: Yeah, I get along with everyone really, because they’re all part of the team. But you obviously have your close ones. I’ve gone through the ranks with Marcus, Timmy, Jesse – so, they’re the more, I’d say, close ones but you get along with everyone. You can always talk to people, and see how they are as well.
Interviewer: And the manager had words of praise for you after the Wigan friendly – said it only took 10 minutes to see your potential. That must fill you with a lot of confidence.
Axel: Yeah (laughs). Definitely, to have your manager backing you so strongly is always a positive sign. My aim is just to keep on increasing and striving towards the goals.
Interviewer: And are you looking forward to getting stuck into some serious pre-season training now?
Axel: Yeah, definitely, this is my opportunity. You know last year, I was a bit out, missed a couple of months due to injury, but now I think I can start afresh, really give it a good go, and try to stake into the first team.
Interviewer: And how have the early sessions been under the new manager?
Axel: They’ve been good. I think, good sessions. I definitely think they’re demanding, they take a lot out of you. After the training sessions, you’re a bit tired and stuff. But I think it’s better like that because you can put the effort in – the more effort you put in, the more comes out of it. So, it’s always better to have a challenging session.
Interviewer: And finally, the Wigan friendly was a good blow-out for the squad, but what are you expecting from these two high-profile friendlies against Dortmund and City?
Axel: I think, obviously, they’re both really good teams. So I think it won’t just be like a little friendly, I think it’ll be like a good tester to see where we’re at as a team. Hopefully, we can win both games and show, the fans mainly, that we’re ready for the season and ready for the major competitions and stuff.