Home » The inside Story of Hannibal Mejbri’s arrival at Old Trafford

The inside Story of Hannibal Mejbri’s arrival at Old Trafford

by David Abraham

Hannibal Mejbri appears to have finally ‘arrived’ at Old Trafford.

The 20-year-old Tunisian began his career as a Monaco youth prospect, before switching to Manchester in 2019, for a €10 million fee.

For a youth player, that was a substantial investment – one that Hannibal now looks set to repay.

He’s taken to his breakthrough Premier League campaign as though he belongs at this level, but it was on loan with Birmingham City in the Championship that the player really established himself.

For a 19-year-old, the Championship can be quite challenging and any young players sent there to learn their trade must display exceptional courage and athletic prowess.

Hannibal passed the test, eventually making 41 appearances across the season.

From his initiation ceremony at Birmingham, where he instantly became a favourite for his confident delivery of a song sang in both French and English, it was clear that the midfielder would not be cowed by the sense of occasion.

Now, in an interview conducted by The Manchester Evening News, Matt Gardiner, assistant head coach at Birmingham, has offered some insights on Hannibal’s character and journey to the Premier League.

“He was always trying to learn and he regularly did extras, which I loved about him. He’d do a lot of extra technical points after training,” he said.

“He’d work on things like match shooting, taking the ball under pressure or working on his weaker foot, or whatever the topic was for that particular week. We helped him but he really helped himself during his time here,” he added.

On the midfielder’s character, Gardiner’s praise was unequivocal, saying:

“His fearlessness really stood out. I would say that and his hunger to always win, even in the games in training…”

“You have to have the talent but you have to have the hunger as well, which Hannibal has no shortage of.”

By now, most Man United fans will be well-acquainted with the Tunisia international’s passion and hunger. But there’s more in store, as according to Gardiner:

“His set-pieces were great and he had the courage to take them in pressure situations.”

“We do unique meetings to prepare before every game.”

“We look through the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition and if you look at Hannibal’s first assist for the club, which came against Stoke, it appears to be a simple corner which hits the far post, but it’s an example of his different deliveries.

“His technique is outstanding and his range of deliveries, from corners and free-kicks, was a real strength for us.”

Hannibal’s introduction into the United first team has come under less than ideal conditions.

Having successfully adjusted to the realities of the professional game, he’ll now have to adjust to the difficulties of playing for a team going through tremendous uncertainty.

If Gardiner’s testimony is anything to go by, however, he’ll fancy his chances.

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