Manchester United gave a debut to young winger Anthony Elanga against Leicester City last week.

Elanga could feature again over the last two Premier League matches of the season, and Hannibal Mejbri should be a contender to join him.

Hannibal has been excellent for United’s under-23 side this season, scoring four goals and providing a team-leading seven assists from midfield.

Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League 2
(Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images)

He has been training with the first team since March and he has a chance to be involved in these final two matches.

While the final game of the season against Wolves could be the moment for Hannibal, there is a case to be made to bring him in against Fulham instead.

This could either be giving him a start just like Elanga got against Leicester, or giving him 20 minutes or so from the bench, which is perhaps more likely.

The club website confirms Hannibal is available despite his under-23s red card in the final game against Derby.

Rest starters

One argument in favour of rotating and giving the kids a chance is to preserve Manchester United’s starters for the Europa League final with Villarreal.

It is a balancing act, because after two defeats last week, United want to pick up some momentum to take into the final, and so we could see Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba from the start against Fulham.

But what if one of them gets injured? Is it really worth the risk? That’s where the temptation to include Hannibal comes in.

 

Giving the young Frenchman a chance reduces the minutes one of United’s key starters will play, and keeps them fresh for next week.

Fulham have nothing to play for

This would be a good fixture for United to play Hannibal in. Fulham are already relegated, and there is nothing on the line for them other than pride.

Fulham are at the stage where they may even be throwing in a couple of youngsters themselves and experimenting, planning, for next season.

This game is a dead-rubber, and giving Hannibal a chance makes it more meaningful, and potentially memorable.

With Champions League qualification already assured, United can take the risk, and no other club will be negatively impacted by a rotated line-up.

Fulham having nothing to play for also helps Hannibal’s potential chances of success if he is selected.

Rochdale v Manchester United U21 - EFL Trophy
(Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images)

It’s in front of fans at Old Trafford

The match with Fulham could be a special one, with fans back at Old Trafford (invited!) for the first since March 2020.

It will be a great opportunity for Hannibal to make his debut in front of supporters, even if it just for 15 minutes at the end of the match.

This should be a better, more memorable alternative to giving him his debut in front of Wolves fans at Molineux at the weekend.

For the 10,000 fans in attendance, it could turn out to be a special ‘I was there’ moment to say they got to see Hannibal make his professional debut, and make it worthwhile irrespective of result.

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