U23 Update & Hannibal at AFCON

Hannibal started on the right of a front 3 in Tunisia's first match at the AFCON

Hannibal Mejbri will have the opportunity to put his skills on full display at the AFCON. Tunisia are far from favorites for the tournament but they can hold their own. This tournament could prove to be Hannibal’s ‘coming out party’ should he put in some good performances. Several United fans have been very excited about the young Tunisian for a long time. Considering his age and undoubted talent, it’s only a matter of time before he makes his way into the first team. Unlike other African players being taken away form their clubs this winter for the AFCON, Hannibal’s departure is surely welcome by United. It provides regular first team football on the big stage.

Tunisia fell 1-0 to Mali in the opening group stage match. Hannibal had a night to forget, as he was subbed off at half time. Although, the substitution was likely not due to Hannibal’s performance alone. The team as a whole struggled to create opportunities going forward. Hannibal actually lead Tunisia with chances created (2) while only playing for 45′. These chances were created by way of some excellent passes form the United midfielder.

Mali scored with their only shot on target, which was a penalty in the 48′. The game ended in some controversy too, as the ref called for full time early. One could argue Tunisia was deserving of a point at least. The Tunisians will look to rebound on January 16th against Mauritania.

Manchester United teenager Hannibal Mejbri reacts to reaching Arab Cup  final - Manchester Evening News
Hannibal lead Tunisia in chances created against Mali

U23s to face City

The U23 team will face Manchester City this weekend. Their kickoff time should take place just after the first team finishes their match against Villa. This match comes off the back of a 1-1 draw against Spurs at home on the 10th of January. United is currently 8 points behind City, but with a game in hand. So, a win against City would put them in prime position to make a second half season push for 2nd place in the Premier League 2nd division.

The squad will be without Hannibal, as he is with his country at the AFCON. So, the team will have to rely on Shoretire to lead the way, who did score against Spurs. Also be on the lookout for the likes of Charlie Savage, Dylan Levitt, and Alvaro Fernandez.

The key to U23 football form a first team perspective is just getting these young players quality minutes. The squads often rotate heavily and players come in and out of the team to play for the first team or their countries. Manchester United may be struggling with regard to its first team football but the club does still have a top notch academy. Young starlets are constantly coming through the United academy.

Lastly, pay special attention to Charlie McNeill. The English lad is 18 years old and officially named in United’s U18 squad but has seen regular minutes with the U23s. McNeil had played for City’s youth squads until he came back to United in 2020. He’s been a regular scorer wherever he’s played. This season he’s played in 13 matches and has 4 goals. There is real excitement about the potential of Charlie McNeill.

Charlie McNeil: 5 possible loan destinations for Man Utd's own version of  Carlos Tevez - Mirror Online
McNeill has 4 goals this season for the U23 squad

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