Hannibal sets Manchester United testers for two weeks – Richard Fay
It is always important to be careful when approaching pre-season matches and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer He won’t get carried away after winning his first outing of the summer.
In the heat of Sunday Manchester United He showed his enviable team depth by defeating Derby County, using 23 players en route to a comfortable 2-1 victory.
Tom Heaton and Facundo Blistere Both impressed in first-team debuts, although it’s hard to be overly excited by beating a team that only avoided relegation from the championship by one point on the final day of last season.
The same can be said about the teenage midfielder Hannibal Majbri who shined in his late brilliance on the field, Emulate Jack Grealish with bold mastery Who saw him hit the opponent without touching the ball.
It was the latest spray of gold dust over an already stellar display reel of his time in the U23s – but again it’s hard to drown in the hype for a player who has played just eight minutes of the Premier League. football.
Just take a look at Sunday’s top scorer, Tahith Chong, to see that reserve team stardom rarely translates to the first team stage, though others might optimistically point to Mason Greenwood as evidence of that happening.
Regardless of which category the Tunisian teenager falls into, the next two weeks should highlight how far Hannibal really is with the 18-year-old heading into a full-scale final run before the season in the absence of more well-known midfielders.
Donny van de Beek, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes are not expected to return to United training until early next week, meaning the three are unlikely to start the week against Brentford on Wednesday. The trio will also miss the Queens Park Rangers trip this weekend, leaving a gaping midfield for Hannibal to make his mark minutes before the big-stars rally minutes before the season opener against Leeds.
Stronger sides should take to the field for the last two friendlies against Preston and Everton, with returning international stars expected to participate depending on their personal schedules after the conclusion of this summer’s major tournaments.
Hannibal himself was a late return to Carrington last week after being given extra time at the start of pre-season following his international cap for Tunisia. The young player made his international debut with victory over the Democratic Republic of Congo on June 5, before making more matches against Algeria and Mali a week later.
He will now face Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata for a key role at Loftus Road this weekend, before he hopes to secure his first match at Old Trafford against Brentford in nine days.
If he can impress both, he could secure a place as a replacement for Bruno Fernandes for the upcoming campaign, although time is on his side in terms of securing a long-term future at United if the dream scenario is not the case. play it out.
In a worst-case scenario, Hannibal will end up this summer as an under-23 star, or possibly on loan. At best, he could become the latest youngster to receive a permanent promotion to Solskjaer’s first team.
The next two weeks should give us the answer.
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