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Hannibal Mejbri has already made quite a name for himself at Manchester United.
The French midfielder was wanted by top clubs around Europe when he opted to leave Monaco for the Red Devils back in 2019 for a reported fee of €5 million, possibly rising to €10 million in add-ons.
Just a few months after his arrival, the noises coming out of Carrington indicated they had a special talent on their hands.
“He actually takes the "p***" sometimes against players a couple of years older than him," a club source told The Athletic last year.
”He’ll feint to strike then drag it and shoot the other way.”
Soon, he started to impress in the Under-18s to earn a fast-track to the Under-23s where he has continued to impress.
But, whilst it might be all fun and games against his team-mates in training, United are concerned about his trickery and skill.
Under-23s manager Neil Wood has now issued a public plea to referees to protect their prized asset from rough treatment amid fears he is “going to get his leg broken” if things carry on as they are.
“I think Hannibal has lots of quality and the frustrating point for him is that there must be about 15 fouls on him per game,” Wood said, via the Manchester Evening News.
“And at some point if it’s not stopped, or if the referee is not protecting him, he’s going to get his leg broken. That’s what I fear for him.
“He loves getting on the ball, he loves creating and teams love to hack him down as much as they can. He’s doing really well. He's been outstanding for the last couple of games. He was outstanding against Liverpool and I thought he was excellent again [against Blackburn].
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“I think what a lot of people don’t realise about Hannibal is that they see him getting fouled, they hear the screams every now and then but he’s a tough cookie.
“The Accrington game the lad broke his nose in the first 10 minutes and he played the whole game with two stents up his nose, there’s not many players who would do that. He’s a lot tougher than he’s given credit for.
"I think he’s the type that he wants the ball all the time, he’s not going to shy away from it and that’s what we want, you don’t want your top players being worried, he just needs a bit of protection or it could result in him being badly injured.”
Having scored three goals and delivered four assists for the Under-23s this term, Wood is pleased with Mejbri’s progress.
He added: “Hannibal is so much better off the ball now and has so much better positional discipline about him, he needed that.
"If he went from what he was doing in the last couple of years to going to a league team [on loan] it just wouldn’t work.”
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