MANCHESTER UNITED may well have the next Kylian Mbappe on their hands.
That is because Hannibal Mejbri is continuing to excel in the Red Devils academy – even “taking the p***” out of older players in training.
Manchester United could have the next Kylian Mbappe on their hands if Hannibal Mejbri continues his development” width=”960″ height=”640″ />
United snapped up the talented teenager last summer in a £9.3million move after he fell out with Monaco.
But after initially struggling to understand his team-mates with Mancunian accents, the 17-year-old is letting his feet do the talking.
A source told The Athletic earlier this season: “He is composed, can go past a player and break a line.
“He actually takes the p*** sometimes against players a couple of years older than him. He’ll feint to strike then drag it and shoot the other way.
“He has trained with the first team when certain groups have been away. Mainly technical stuff, not what you’d class as full training. In his frame, he is still a kid.”
Mejbri has been dubbed the new Mbappe as he originates from the eastern Parisian suburbs as the Paris Saint-Germain striker.
In fact, eight of France’s World Cup-winning squad were developed in the area – including N’Golo Kante and Mejbri’s mentor at Old Trafford, Paul Pogba.
But visually the midfielder has a similar hairstyle to Arsenal’s Matteo Geundouzi and his former youth coach believes the pair are similar on the pitch as well.
Reda Bekhti said: “Today when compared to a Premier League player, I see it as Guendouzi.
“Like Hannibal, he is French, from French training, and grew up in the Paris region.
“His playing style is similar to what Hannibal can do in the Premier League in the coming years.”
Brandon Williams made his debut in September but has already racked up 26 appearances as he challenges Luke Shaw for the left-back spot.
In attack, Mason Greenwood has kicked on from his unforgettable debut against Paris Saint-Germain last season by scoring 12 senior goals, including five apiece in the Premier League and Europa League.
And United know they have struck gold by landing the France Under-17 international.
Nicky Butt, part of the Class of ’92 that came through the academy together, is keen to keep a lid on expectations – even if the club cannot hide his talent.
The head of first-team development at Manchester United said: “It’s hard to get him under the radar when we’ve chased him for so long and he’s come from a big club for a big fee, so that’s impossible.
“But you want to get young people under the radar because, coming from a different country and getting the price tag in your head and coming to one of the biggest clubs in the world, there’s going to be so much pressure in the first place.
“I’ve got a 16-year-old kid who, I would hate that pressure on their shoulders…
“But they have that and it’d be foolish to put them out there too soon, because you don’t know what’s around the corner. They’re children.”