It is unlikely that Hannibal Mejbri will make his full debut for Manchester United against Norwich.
Mejbri, 18, came on the field for his career debut against Wolves on the last day of last season, but he has yet to perform for United during this period as he has played in the Arab Cup and Africa Cup of Nations for Tunisia.
United are without midfielders Scott McTominay and Fred against Norwich and Mejbri, a € 10 million signing from Monaco in 2019, is expected to start on the bench again with Paul Pogba likely to return in the starting 11.
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Alejandro Garnacho has been training with United’s first team recently, after receiving a call-up to Argentina’s senior team last month. Garnacho, 17, joined United from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2020 and scored five goals in five matches during the U18s’ run-up to the FA Youth Cup final. Spanish left-back Alvaro Fernandez has also trained with the senior squad.
United’s interim manager Ralf Rangnick appointed two goalkeepers on the bench at Everton last week, but Eric Bailly was able to replace the injured Fred in what may be the only match day change.
“I think it’s good for Hannibal or Alejandro to train with us the last few days and weeks, but we are not playing friendly matches or any matches where we believe in giving 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 that we think we can still win the match with.
“It’s not the best situation for us to replace both Fred and Scotty [McTominay] but we still have enough key midfielders to play and we will try to find the best possible formation to win the match. “
United are six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, who start at 12.30 on Saturday, and although it is still mathematically possible for United to qualify for the Champions League, it is also possible that they could not qualify for any European tournaments altogether.
In the last decade, Leicester and Chelsea won the Premier League title in seasons without European football, while Liverpool were painfully close to ending their championship drought without any European competitive commitments in 2013-14.
United failed to capitalize on a more relaxed schedule in 2014-15, finishing in fourth place under Louis van Gaal, but Rangnick had no intentions 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 task is to get the best out of them, win as many games as possible and then see where we end up at the end of the season. “