Erik ten Hag has warned Hannibal Mejbri and James Garner they need demonstrate they are capable of ‘accepting responsibility’ if they are to feature in his first team plans this season.
Tunisia international Mejbri, 19, broke into United’s first team late last season and won plaudits from the likes of Gary Neville and Paul Scholes for his combative, if erratic, display in a 4-0 defeat at Anfield.
Garner, meanwhile, impressed while on loan at Nottingham Forest who earned promotion back to the Premier League after a 23-year absence.
The elegant midfielder, who has been likened to Michael Carrick in the past, has missed the first three matches of United’s pre-season campaign due to injury but is vying to be involved against Aston Villa tomorrow and Ten Hag is eager to see him in action.
‘James Garner integrated into training this week, so I haven’t seen him,’ said Ten Hag at his pre-match press conference.
‘I don’t have a full impression of him and I want to see more. I will then answer the question, and make conclusions and decisions.’
On Mejbri, he added: ‘Hannibal, he plays some minutes now and I think he did quite well, in training as well.
‘He makes quite a good impression. I think they do well [youngsters]. I also know the standards in the Premier League are really high and it’s always about are they ready to take the responsibility to play, to contribute.
‘That’s what I have to prove and I will take my decisions. It’s clear some of them have potential.’
Ten Hag was seen ripping into another of United’s talented youngsters, Zidane Iqbal, during training in Perth on Thursday and it appears the Dutchman won’t be handing out appearances, even in pre-season, for the sake of it.
Eyebrows have been raised by Ten Hag’s reluctance to give minutes to Alejandro Garnacho, who played a key role in United’s recent FA Youth Cup success, but the Dutchman insists his priority has to be given to getting his team right for the first match of the new Premier League season against Brighton in a fortnight’s time.
‘We don’t have a lot of time, we have to be ready for August 7,’ he said. ‘The squad here is defined in generations, we have experienced players but also we wanted to give some young talents the chance, while they deserved it, to be here.
‘I cannot give all young players the chances they maybe deserve, because we have to construct a team. I see them daily in training, so I get a really good impression from them. We can develop them by good plans
‘Not all youngsters have gained minutes, I have to set priorities, but in future they will play an important role I think for building Man United.’
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