UK 'A fan favourite' - Inside Hannibal Mejbri's loan at Birmingham last minute news
PremierLeague-News.Com- Brian Dick of the Birmingham Mail details Hannibal's progress on loan at Birmingham City to the Manchester Evening News.
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! Hannibal Mejbri currently is embarking on his debut World Cup campaign with Tunisia and he enters the tournament on a good footing. The 19-year-old has enjoyed a successful first half of his loan spell at Birmingham, having made a real impression at St Andrew’s. The midfielder has played 15 games and grabbed two assists in enigmatic fashion. Hannibal made a harried cameo appearance for United against Liverpool last season, making his name known among Reds fans. He has carried on his energy into his loan spell at Birmingham but Blues boss John Eustace has been trying to hone his abilities and channel his enthusiasm into productive means. READ MORE: Manchester United ace Christian Eriksen gives Hannibal Mejbri advice ahead of first World Cup We spoke to The Birmingham Mail’s senior Birmingham City writer, Brian Dick, to get the low-down on Hannibal’s progression in the Midlands.: How has Hannibal settled into his time at St Andrew’s? Brian Dick: It was a measured start, he was drip-fed into the team rather than just chucked straight in but it was obvious even from his early substitute appearances he demanded to be involved from the start. Off the pitch, he told me in an interview that he was feeling more settled having moved out of a hotel and into a house. He has been well-supported by the club as he settles further. What is the fan reaction to Hannibal at Birmingham? Has it changed from when he first arrived to now? BD: There was genuine excitement when he first signed and that's only increased not only because of the enthusiasm of his performances but because of the way he has invested into the team and the club's fortunes. When Blues win, there's no-one celebrating harder than Hannibal. He's become a bit of a fan favourite. Hannibal has arrived at Birmingham alongside Tahith Chong, who joined the Blues permanently in the summer after his loan spell last season. How has the dynamic between them played out this season? BD: They both talk about each other in interviews with affection. Chong said he and Hannibal started pre-season at Man United and ended up at Blues and have spoken about it. Hannibal admits he spoke to Chong before coming to Blues. If Hannibal is invested in Birmingham, Chong is even more so. He really appreciates the interest and loyalty they have shown him. They have played together a few times, both as No. 8s although Chong sometimes operates as a striker. Their relationship on and off the pitch seems good.
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. However, the head coach has also spoken to Hannibal about playing smart as well as playing hard. He's picked up a few yellow cards and against QPR might have been sent off had Eustace not subbed him. What has Eustace said about him? BD: Blues' head coach is very positive about the 19-year-old - as he is with all of his players. A few weeks ago he said: "The way he has played in the last couple of games has been phenomenal. "He has broken records for total distance." He also admits he has to tell him not to make rash tackles. One instance came at the end of October after Blues beat QPR but Hannibal had been booked - and might have picked up a second caution. After the game Eustace said: added: “It’s something we have got to watch but he plays on the edge, that’s why he’s so good, a top player. I am certainly not going to stop him doing what he does but he has to realise the importance of managing the games at times." What’s been most impressive about Hannibal and what does he need to learn? BD: His energy levels are out of this world, I don't think I've seen a player who runs as much as Hannibal in a very long time. Obviously there's the issue about make good decisions about which tackles he goes in for. Playing as an No. 8 there's a bit of a pressure to come up with goals and assists too - and his set-piece delivery isn't the most consistent. So, very good so far but plenty to work on too. Hannibal made two hustling senior appearances for United last season, most memorably against Liverpool. From what you have seen at Birmingham, do you think he could one day crack the United first-team? BD: Every youngster at Manchester United is there because they have ability. They have to show something that's going to make them special and stand out from the rest. Hannibal's energy is what stands out most, if he can develop physically and learn to deploy it at the right times he's definitely a player United should look at next summer. Theoretically, if United decided to offload Hannibal next summer, would Blues take him on permanently and would fans want that too? BD: Blues fans would love to have him permanently but that seems a bit pie-in-the-sky in terms of finances, Blues are going through a takeover and that would need to be completed for Blues to stand any chance. I think Hannibal will want to have a good crack at United though. READ NEXT: Portugal might have to accept reality about Ronaldo Erik ten Hag has been told what Maguire wants Erik ten Hag knows Ronaldo can’t destroy changes he’s made Ronaldo was right about one United player in interview Manchester United news homepage