'I’ll give my absolute best wherever I’m played'
Manchester United youngster Hannibal believes that he has the ability to fulfil a range of roles across the midfield.
The 18-year-old recently played in his first international tournament at senior level when helping Tunisia to reach the Arab Cup final.
Unfortunately, the Eagles of Carthage had to settle for a runners-up medal after losing 2-0 to Algeria after extra-time in Al Khor, Qatar, but it remained a positive experience for Hannibal.
Often occupying the no.10 position, behind striker and eventual Golden Boot winner Seifeddine Jaziri, the United man started every game for the North Africans, winning two Man-of-the-Match awards and also registering an assist.
Hannibal is now excited to participate in the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
Although he effectively operated as Tunisia’s playmaker during the Arab Cup, a position he will be hoping to retain for the Africa Cup of Nations, Hannibal has occasionally fulfilled a deeper role for our Academy sides.
And when we recently asked him which position he prefers, our teenager emphasised his flexibility, stating that, with some tactical work, he is good enough to play anywhere.
“To be honest with you, I’ll give my absolute best wherever I’m played out on the pitch, whether that be at no.8 or no.6 or no.10 or even on the wing,” Hannibal told club media.
“I think I’ve got the qualities to play all of those positions.
“I just need to study each of them to make sure I tactically understand them, in particular without the ball and then when I have the ball I just have to play my own game and not feel any pressure.
“Up until now it’s been working really well.”
Like any footballer, Hannibal has top players in mind when trying to interpret these various midfield responsibilities.
Interestingly, two of the three he names have long retired while the other is coming to the end of a glittering career, although he also looks to absorb lessons from his Tunisia team-mates.
“Obviously I’ve got role models, but they don’t play much football these days!” he added.
“Zinedine Zidane was one of the best players in the world and you had someone like Ronaldinho who was great on the wing. [Andres] Iniesta [plays] a bit deeper.
“So I try to learn from watching players like that but in my national team too we’ve got some really talented players, so I’m hoping to learn from them as well.”
This interview was first published on 20 December 2021.