Man Utd fear leg break for Mejbri as they express anger at refereeing at U-23 level

Hannibal Mejbri Man Utd 2020-21

Hannibal Mejbri’s promotion to first-team training has been delayed due to the persistent injuries he has been suffering at Under-23 level.

However, injury issues have halted his progress, with Goal havinglearned that United are growing frustrated at the lack of protectionthe teenager is beinggiven, with U-23s boss Neil Wood fearing he will suffer a broken leg if things don’t change.

The Red Devilsboss confirmed last week that Mejbri would be making the step up to the first team. He told reporters:”We’ve moved Shola Shoretire up with us. Hannibal Mejbri will join us and we will keep them with us for a while.

“It’s the next step in their development, we’ve got to take the hit that when they play for the reserves they have to travel by themselves. It’s a nice step for them, they’ve done really well.”

Mejbrishould have already had a few sessions with the first team, like Shoretire, but his initial promotion wasdelayed after he leftLeigh Sports Village on crutcheshaving sufferedan ankle injury in the 6-4 win against Blackburn U-23s on February 5.

That injury problemled to him missing all of last week’straining sessions with the first team, although he was then passed fit to play against Arsenal U-23s on February 12.

However,he was forced off duringthat game – a 3-0 United win courtesy of goals from Harvey Neville, Joe Hugill and Shoretire – with a shoulder injury and it is understood his arm was still in a sling as the first team were preparing to fly to Turin to face Real Sociedad in the Europa League.

Under-23s manager Neil Wood has been frustrated about what he believes is a lack of protection for the teenager.

He said: “The frustrating point for Hannibal is that there must be about 15 fouls on him per game 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.”

Decisions in PL2 games are assessed and monitored in the same way they are further up the leagues althoughthere is an understanding and acceptance that, just as it is a development league for the players, the same is true for the officials.

Eighteen-year-old Mejbri, who has impressed since signing from Monaco in 2019, will still get his chance with the first team, with Solskjaer havingbeen pleasedwith his performances at U-23level.

That said, and even when hedoes start training with the rest of the first-team squad, he will still be expected to play with the U-23s.

Wood’s side face Everton on February 22, with the Red Devils’ second string currently fourth in the PL2 Division 1 table.

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