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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Rich Jones

Man Utd wonderkid Hannibal Mejbri likened to club legends by Nicky Butt

Manchester United teenage sensation Hannibal Mejbri has already raised plenty of eyebrows.

The 17-year-old was signed for a substantial fee reported to be around £9million from Monaco last year, quickly establishing himself as a regular in United's Under-23s.

He was linked with a first-team call-up last month after injuries to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay and is being tipped to play a key role for United in their FA Youth Cup clash with Leeds at Old Trafford tonight.

And Butt, now head of first-team development at his former club, has fuelled expectations surrounding Mejbri by comparing him to past legends such as Roy Keane, Bryan Robson, Paul Scholes and David Beckham for his leadership qualities on the pitch.

Manchester United youngster Hannibal Mejbri is being tipped for the very top (2019 Manchester United FC)

Butt told the Manchester Evening News: "Leaders are always looked at like a Roy Keane, a Steve Bruce, a Bryan Robson, those kind of verbal, real aggression, real leaders.

"And then you've got leaders like Paul Scholes or David Beckham or Ryan Giggs, who's quiet but really leads by example of how they play and how they work hard.

"We've got the old-fashioned leaders, if you like, who are going to talk to the players and drive the team. Hannibal (Mejbri)'s a leader. The way he plays his football is 100mph, he's non-stop running up and down."

Nicky Butt has hailed Mejbri's leadership qualities on the pitch (PA)

Mejbri has been likened to fellow French midfielder Paul Pogba, but Butt believes those comparisons are wide of the mark.

He believes he will need time to grow before being ready for a first-team breakthrough - yet he believes he has the talent to head to the very top.

Butt added: "Hannibal is different to Paul when Paul was a youth team player. ‘He’s not as powerful as Paul, he isn’t as dominant as him, he’s a different kind of player to Paul but we all know about the talent he’s got.

"It’s been written out there in the press many times with the signing and the fee.

Mejbri signed from Monaco last year for a substantial fee (AFP/Getty Images)

"But he's a young man who's come to a new country who needs a bit of time.

"He's a very, very talented boy but he's still very immature. He's still a baby, he's just 17. He's not got anything on him just yet, he needs to build up his size and build up his physicality.

"Talent-wise, he's got such an immense talent to go on and play at a high level but there's a long way to go yet."

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