“It was a dream come true”: Shola Shoretire & Hannibal Mejbri reveal first-team debut thoughts

Two of the brightest prospects at Manchester United currently are Hannibal Mejbri and Shola Shoretire. The pair have risen through the ranks at United, becoming crucial members of Neil Wood’s under-23 side. They have revealed what it was like making their first-team debuts for the club.

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19-year-old Hannibal is the kind of player who can make things happen from seemingly nowhere. It is a real testament to his ability that he has already made his international debut for Tunisia. Hannibal has represented them at two tournaments, including the African Cup of Nations earlier this year.

Hannibal, who was born in Paris, has so far only made one first-team appearance for United, away to Wolves last season. Hannibal explained in an interview with Versus what it was like to make his first team debut. “It was crazy. I was waiting for this moment and it was getting towards the end of the season… I went to warm up at half-time and I was ready. I was sprinting like a mad person. The pressure when the coach told me to come on was different to that ‘normal’ pressure.

“When I came on, I did my first one-two with Shola and everything went perfectly. When I went back into the changing room, I realised how much of a big deal it was. I had just made my first-team debut.”

Despite only making one first-team appearance so far, Hannibal has been on the bench numerous times this season. He is one player most United fans are hoping gets an opportunity in the Premier League soon.

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Shoretire’s first game came at Old Trafford against Newcastle United in the league, which seemed fitting considering he grew up in the North-East. The then 17-year-old became United’s seventh-youngest player in the club’s history, and the second-youngest since the Premier League began, behind Angel Gomes.  

For Shoretire, making his Red Devils debut was something he always fantasized. “It was a dream come true. It’s something I have dreamed about ever since I started playing football,” explained United’s number 47.

“There is a big difference between academy football and first-team football. There were nerves but I feel like the players and manager really helped me through that experience. They made me feel welcomed and looked after me. It was a very proud moment for me.”

The youngster has since appeared three times for United’s first-team, and he made his Champions League debut this season at home to BSC Young Boys. Shoretire has yet again put in some impressive performances in the Premier League 2 and is a player who United fans will be keeping a close eye on for the future.

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If the rise of Anthony Elanga is anything to go by, new opportunities under Ralf Rangnick could well be right around the corner for talented players like Hannibal and Shoretire.

With the duo becoming more integrated into the first-team squad of late, United supporters may not have to wait long before we see them in action at the highest level again.

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