Ralf Rangnick reveals end of season hopes for Manchester United ace Hannibal Mejbri
Speaking to the club’s official website, Ralf Rangnick revealed that he hopes Manchester United ace Hannibal Mejbri could be playing with the first team by the end of the season.
The youngster has been a part of the U-23s this season and has featured for the club in the Premier League 2, UEFA Youth League, and the EFL Trophy. Injuries have slightly restricted his game-time, but his incredible skill set was on display for Tunisia in the recent Arab Cup.
The 18-year-old picked up a couple of man of the match awards on the road towards the final of the tournament. Unfortunately, Algeria defeated them in the final, but playing at such a top-level remains quite a feat for the young Man United ace.
Mejbri shall now be representing his country at the AFCON next month. Rangnick has now explained that he hopes to turn the Tunisian into a first-team player at Old Trafford by the end of this campaign.
“I watched the final before his substitution and I’m fully aware that we have another good, highly-talented player (Mejbri) coming from our youth ranks and hopefully after the Africa Cup of Nations he can regularly train and be part of our group.”
“It’s not only about youth. It’s about being talented and having the right personality and mentality, and if those things come together then of course, I want to play as many of those young players as possible. We had three, four or five of them in our squad already, and for me, it’s important to develop those players.”
Mejbri has been catching the attention of the coaches at Man United since the start of the season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, too, was aware of the player’s talents and was developing him to play in a deeper position, where he could dictate the play.
However, it is no surprise that Rangnick has high hopes for the individual. The German gaffer has always promoted the youth from the ranks and has excelled in slotting them alongside the experienced bunch in the squad, as evidenced by his time at RB Leipzig.
He may take up a consultancy role at the end of the season and Rangnick may have a say in what happens with the youth team. Man United flourished under Sir Alex Ferguson, thanks to their good eye for signings in the domestic market and honing them into world-beaters.
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The academy is also producing several talented players, with Charlie Savage and Zidane Iqbal recently making their senior debuts. Thus, once Mejbri returns from the AFCON tournament, he could be given some chances by the new boss to help him become part of the first-team squad by the end of this season.
An attacking midfielder by choice, he could find a role as an understudy or backup to the likes of Bruno Fernandes, but that is something that will happen in some time rather than instantly.