Axel Tuanzebe has been hyped up for a number of years at Manchester United but he followed up an underwhelming loan spell at Aston Villa in the second half of last season with a slow start to the current campaign.
He was not helped by being shunted out to right-back or playing in a side that lacked clear identity under Steve Bruce.
But after Bruce was sacked and replaced by Dean Smith, Tuanzebe has returned to centre-half, where he has played 90 minutes in each of Villa’s past six Championship matches and formed an impressive partnership with James Chester.
The Welsh international is clearly enjoying playing alongside the United loanee, as he told the Express and Star of the partnership: “He has all the attributes to be a top player. We are hopefully at the beginning of something positive. If we do find ourselves in the wrong position, his pace is enough to get us out of trouble.”
But what has sparked Tuanzebe’s recent spike in performance? Perhaps it’s the influence of John Terry, who is Smith’s assistant manager and of course one of the greatest centre-halves England has ever produced.
Tuanzebe can only learn from someone like that, who can show what it takes for him to realise his potential.