A video from a Manchester United training session shows promising youngster Hannibal Mejbri fooling several members of the first-team squad, including midfielder Fred.
Mejbri, who is only 18 years old, is shown stunning the Brazilian with his lightning-quick feet before passing the ball to Donny van de Beek. After receiving the ball from the latter, the child slips away from a lunging tackle by Fred to calmly tuck the ball into the back of the net.
Mejbri has great expectations at Old Trafford. The midfielder was signed by The Red Devils in 2019 after impressing at AS Monaco for a cost rumored to be between €5 and 10 million.
He made his Premier League debut on the final day of last season, replacing Juan Mata in a 2-1 win over Wolves. Mejbri’s play has been compared to that of compatriot Paul Pogba, who also came through the United system.
While he admires Mejbri’s talent, Nicky Butt, the club’s previous head of first team development, believes they are two very different players.
“Hannibal is not the same as Paul,” Butt told The Manchester Evening News in February. “He’s not as powerful as Paul, nor is he as dominant; he’s a different type of player than Paul, but we all know how talented he is. The signing and the money have been widely publicized in the news.
But he’s a young man in a new nation who needs time. He’s a really talented young man, yet he’s still quite immature. He’s still a child. He doesn’t have anything on him yet; he needs to bulk up in size and physicality.
He has tremendous talent to go on and play at a high level, but he still has a long way to go.”
Mejbri hopes to follow in the footsteps of Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, and Mason Greenwood, who all came through United’s academy and went on to become first-team regulars.
In December 2019, the club set a new record: 4,000 consecutive senior matches with at least one youth graduate in the first team’s match day squad.
With that context and that electric footwork, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Mejbri in action for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side sooner rather than later.
Hannibal Mejbri 🔥
— United Zone (@ManUnitedZone_) September 7, 2021