Hannibal crowned Under-23s Player of the Year

Thursday 20 May 2021 17:00

Hannibal has been named Manchester United's Under-23s Player of the Year for 2020/21.

The 18-year-old midfielder has picked up the Denzil Haroun trophy at the Aon Training Complex after being a key part of Neil Wood's youthful side in Premier League 2.

Only Will Fish made more than his 21 starts and he contributed four goals plus nine assists, far and away a team high, showing his attacking quality.

Hannibal shows off his award at the Aon Training Complex.

Hannibal, who succeeds another midfield man in last year's winner James Garner, told us of his delight, saying: "It's a very proud moment for me and my family. I will say thank you to the coaches, to my team-mates and everyone who helped me. Thank you very much.

“I think the Under-23s league was good, we did well with a young team and I think we all learned some things. The coach helped us a lot, with our technical [play] and how we need to work. For me, personally, it was good. I learned a lot. I had to be stronger. I was more consistent in the games and I had more goals and assists than the season before. It's always good to take that step, so it was good."

"I think he's been on an incredible journey really," said Under-23s lead coach Neil Wood. "When he first came up, he was full of energy and was running everywhere, sometimes to the detriment of the team.

“His discipline has improved greatly, on and off the ball, and his defensive responsibility. He's really starting to understand that a little bit more. It was difficult at the start as the physicality was a step up for him but he's a tough kid. I think he can take the knocks and can look after himself. I think, towards the end of the year, once we got into the Blackburn and Liverpool games, we started to see him perform and take off.

Watch Hannibal's fine goal against Blackburn.

“I think the Liverpool away game was the first time he played out on the left. We trialled him in a little training game and the training ground to just have a look at him, to see if he could do it. He did really well, I thought he was excellent. I feel it's important he has a few positions he can play in and a few positions he can excel in and make an impact, rather than just be a no. 10 or a higher midfielder.

“It's important, at times I'd drop him into a lower midfield role to see if he could play with a bit of discipline, could work hard, tackle and get on the ball and build up momentum and be sharper. He played left, no. 10 a bit of a false 9, a free role, dropping in between to take up positions.

“There have been a number of challenges, different challenges, but I think, on the whole, he has done very well with it.”