Manchester United drop hint over Hannibal Mejbri and Alejandro Garnacho chances

Hannibal Mejbri is unlikely to make his full debut for Manchester United against Norwich.

Mejbri, 18, came on for his career debut against Wolves on the final day of last season but is yet to appear for United this term, having played in the Arab Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations for Tunisia.

United are without midfielders Scott McTominay and Fred against Norwich and Mejbri, a €10million signing from Monaco in 2019, is expected to start on the bench again with Paul Pogba likely to come back into the starting XI.

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Alejandro Garnacho has trained with the United first-team recently, having earned a call-up to the senior Argentina squad last month. Garnacho, 17, joined United from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2020 and scored five goals in five games during the Under-18s’ run to the FA Youth Cup final. Spanish left-back Alvaro Fernandez has also trained with the senior squad.

United interim manager Ralf Rangnick named two goalkeepers on the bench at Everton last week but Eric Bailly could replace the injured Fred in what may be the only matchday squad change.

“I think it’s good for Hannibal or Alejandro to train with us for the last couple of days and weeks but we’re not playing friendly games or any games where we think to give a young player the opportunity to play,” Rangnick said. “It’s not about that, it’s about playing the best possible formation and line-up with which we think we can still win the game.

“It’s not the best situation that we have to replace both Fred and Scotty [McTominay] but we still have enough central midfielders who can play and we will try to find the best possible formation in order to be able to win the game.”

United are six points off fourth-placed Tottenham, who kick-off at 12.30pm on Saturday, and although it is mathematically still possible for United to qualify for the Champions League, it is also possible they could not qualify for any European competitions altogether.

In the last decade, Leicester and Chelsea won the Premier League title in seasons devoid of European football while Liverpool came agonisingly close to ending their championship drought with no European competition commitments in 2013-14.

United failed to capitalise on a more relaxed schedule in 2014-15, finishing fourth under Louis van Gaal but Rangnick had no intention of discussing United’s potential calendar for next season.

Rangnick said: “We have seven games to play and the next one is tomorrow and our job is to get the best out of those, win as many games as possible and then see where we end up at the end of the season.”

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