Ralf Rangnick talks up United wonderkid Hannibal

Hannibal has been pictured training with Manchester United’s first-team squad following his return from the Arab Cup with Tunisia.

The midfielder suffered heartbreak in the final when they lost out to Algeria but is now back at Carrington and has been working with the senior side.

United interim boss Ralf Rangnick told the club website he is well aware of Hannibal’s capabilities and looks forward to having him train with his squad more regularly.

Further international commitments at the Africa Cup of Nations mean that Rangnick will have to wait to work with Hannibal on a prolonged basis, but he is clearly a fan.

Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images

“We had 25 players in on Thursday and the only one missing was Paul Pogba. Hannibal was here training for the first time since I arrived having just come back from the Arab Cup. Unfortunately for us and for him he will be missing out [with us] again in January because of the Africa Cup of Nations,” said Rangnick.

“I watched the final before his substitution and I’m fully aware that we have another good, highly-talented player coming from our youth ranks and hopefully after the Africa Cup of Nations he can regularly train and be part of our group.”

“I think since the Busby Babes this has always been part of the DNA of the club and the same was true under Sir Alex Ferguson in those 27 years.

“It’s not only about youth, it’s about being talented and having the right personality and mentality and if those things come together then of course I want to play as many of those young players as possible. We had three, four or five of them in our squad already and for me it’s important to develop those players.”

Hannibal was in the winning team on Thursday, as you can see from the photo posted by Nemanja Matic on Instagram above.

That experience, as well as the time he spent playing for his country at a senior international tournament, will be invaluable for him as he signs off for 2022.

Another major tournament in Cameroon next month will continue his development and Rangnick is clearly looking forward to working more closely with him in the months ahead.

Rangnick is reportedly already aware of United’s need to improve in the centre of midfield and if he can’t get a new face in to do that, perhaps Hannibal can help out.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.