Manchester United under 23 boss is worried that youngster Hannibal Mejbri will have his legs broken if the teenager doesn't get more protection from referees.
The history of having a player from their academy in the matchday squad at United stretches over 4,000 games, and 80 years, and it's unlikely to end anytime soon.
With Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay are regular starters who came through the academy, and the next generation is also coming along well.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently talked up striker Joe Hugill's chances of making the first team, and the 17-year-old isn't the only one catching the eye.
Mejbri's passing skills were on full show in a game vs Blackburn Rovers under 23s recently, bemusing their defence with Amad Diallo, and Nigel Wood is worried those skills could land the Frenchman in trouble.
"I think Hannibal has lots of quality and the frustrating point for him is that there must be about 15 fouls on him per game," the under 23 manager told the Manchester Evening News.
"And at some point if it's not stopped, or if the referee is not protecting him, he's going to get his leg broken. That's what I fear for him.
"He loves getting on the ball, he loves creating and teams love to hack him down as much as they can. He's doing really well. He's been outstanding for the last couple of games. He was outstanding against Liverpool and I thought he was excellent again [against Blackburn]."
Speaking about how the 18-year-old is perceived by people, Wood added, "I think what a lot of people don't realise about Hannibal is that they see him getting fouled, they hear the screams every now and then but he's a tough cookie.
"The Accrington game the lad broke his nose in the first 10 minutes and he played the whole game with two stents up his nose, there's not many players who would do that. He's a lot tougher than he's given credit for.
"I think he's the type that he wants the ball all the time, he's not going to shy away from it and that's what we want, you don't want your top players being worried, he just needs a bit of protection or it could result in him being badly injured."
This linkup between Hannibal Mejbri and Amad Diallo pic.twitter.com/0TD0YMQ44E- utdreport Academy (@utdreportAcad) February 5, 2021
Speaking last year to the Athletic, a source revealed how impressive the former Monaco youngster has been in training, "He has trained with the first team when certain groups have been away.
"...He is composed, can go past a player and break a line. He actually takes the piss sometimes against players a couple of years older than him. He'll feint to strike then drag it and shoot the other way."
Clearly in training no one is going to do him serious harm when he gets his way past with some cheeky skill, but Wood is hoping that referees can protect him before something awful happens.
It sounds like United are well stacked to keep their 4,000 game run going for a while yet!
Featured Image Credit: PA
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