Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Erik ten Hag told dropping Man Utd star risks ruining ‘team morale’ as ‘brave’ display proves worth in starting XI

Man Utd midfielder Hannibal Mejbri

Tim Sherwood was impressed by Hannibal Mejbri during Manchester United’s victory over Burnley and feels he should now remain in the side.

Mejbri, 20, was handed his first top-flight start for the Red Devils as they beat the Clarets 1-0. It was the Tunisia international’s second league outing after he came off the bench in the 3-1 loss to Brighton. The French-born starlet bagged his first goal for the club in that reverse after replacing Casemiro.

And he clearly did enough to earn a start as the Old Trafford side picked up their third Premier League triumph of 2023-2024.

The result left them in eighth spot heading into Sunday’s fixtures after Bruno Fernandes’ stunning volley gave them all three points.

Fernandes may have garnered most of the headlines for his superb strike. But Sherwood reserved special praise for Mejbri after he played the full 90 minutes at Turf Moor.

“A real positive from the performance when I look at the individual performances for Man Utd Hannibal I thought was good,” he told Premier League Productions.

“He was brave, I thought he looked for the ball wherever he was.

“Out of possession he looked like he was going with urgency wherever he was to go and get it back.”

Sherwood urges Man Utd to keep faith with Mejbri

It has been a tough start to the season for Manchester United, with three league losses already on their record.

They had lost consecutive top-flight matches 3-1 to Arsenal and the Seagulls prior to Saturday’s success.

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Erik ten Hag has had to deal with a number of injuries to key players. Mason Mount was a big-money signing from Chelsea during the off-season.

He featured in United’s first two Premier League matches before going down with a thigh injury.

And loan signing Sofyan Amrabat has also been struggling with a back problem.

The Morocco international did return as an 89th-minute replacement for Jonny Evans against Burnley.

And it remains to be seen of the Dutch tactician gives him a start next time out.

He would likely replace Mejbri in the side but Sherwood feels the manager needs to think twice before placing the youngster among the substitutes.

“I think he had a great game and he can only get better, I just hope he stays in the team,” he added.

“He earned the right rather than one of the superstars coming back and getting in ahead of him, which is not good for team morale and team spirit.”

Mejbri moved to Old Trafford from Monaco in 2019 and spent two years in the youth setup.

He made his senior debut in the final game of the 2020-21 season before spending the following campaign on loan with Birmingham City.

With 21 starts among 38 Championship appearances, the youngster gained valuable experience in the West Midlands.

And it appears as though he might be handed plenty of game time if he maintains his current trajectory at United.

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