Axel Tuanzebe goes back to school to launch Manchester United Foundation partnership in Rochdale

Date published: 05 November 2019

Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe went back to school last week to officially launch the Manchester United Foundation’s latest partnership.

Local footballer Axel, 21, returned to his former high school, St. Cuthbert’s, to catch up with his former teachers and inspire the students.

During the visit Axel dropped into some lessons to see the work of the foundation within his old school first-hand, including a maths lesson focused on statistics from his career, a geography lesson based on places he has travelled, and a PE lesson with young pupils from his former primary school, St. John’s.

“I think it’s good that the foundation is coming into schools; it’s so motivational for the children here,” said Axel, who was signed by Manchester United when he was just 11-years-old.

“For me it’s amazing to see the buildings again and remember my days in school. Seeing the kids that are here now and the teachers brings all old memories back into play.  It’s something touching and close to me, but in the long run, it’s good to see the community doing well.”


Axel Tuanzebe during a PE lesson with young pupils from his former primary school, St. John’s
Axel Tuanzebe during a PE lesson with young pupils from his former primary school, St. John’s


The event concluded with an assembly for 200 students who had been specially selected due to good behaviour and achievements in school. Axel gave an inspiring speech and took part in a Q&A session, sharing stories from school days, his journey with Manchester United and giving the children advice.

Axel, who signed a new contract with United in July 2019, said: “When I was younger, it would have been massive to see someone come into my school who is on the pathway I wanted to be on. I think the things I said to the children could be inspirational for them to understand the responsibilities they need to take on to become a better person and to have a good career.”

Sam, 13, was one of ten students selected to present the official launch plaque with Axel.

He said: “It just shows that you can start at nothing, go to a local school, play for the school team and still achieve a big career – you can do anything you want if you just work hard.”


Axel Tuanzebe with students from St Cuthbert's RC High School
Axel Tuanzebe with students from St Cuthbert's RC High School


Head of PE, Miss Holt, taught Axel as a student and was delighted to see him again at the event. 

She said: “Today has been a really special day; not only is it the launch of our partnership with Manchester United Foundation but Axel coming back gave us the chance to tell him how proud we are of him.

“I’m really hopeful that the students involved in today will take away the message that whatever their aspirations may be, they can achieve anything that they want.”

The Manchester United Foundation partner schools programme bases full-time coaches in 23 high schools across Greater Manchester to help build relationships between the school and the local community.

The key objectives of the partnership with St. Cuthbert’s are to improve attendance, punctuality, behaviour and academic progress, with a focus on values such as attitude, respect and resilience. 

There is also a focus on business enterprise and employability skills and a mentor support programme for underachieving pupils.

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