Manchester United academy youngster Hannibal Mejbri has given a glowing verdict of his time so far in the Championship with Birmingham City.
Mejbri made a loan switch to Birmingham from United, with the player keen to gain significant first-team minutes.
Mejbri quickly cemented his place in the team’s starting XI and is now one of their most important players.
The 20-year-old spoke to Sky Sports and reflected on his achievements in the Championship and what advantages he has gained from the move.
“My games with Birmingham have really been my first with a professional team. I was playing a lot with the U23s. I had a few minutes with the first team at Manchester United but I don’t think it was enough to really understand what men’s football is.
“Now I understand that every detail is important and you need to work harder. Even if you think you are the best at something, you will find someone who is better than you. That is why you have to work so hard. The Championship is a very hard division.”
The combative midfielder joked, “Coping with the kicks? That is what I learned! Now if someone kicks me I have to kick them back! “No, I have to stay in the game and show my quality first. If someone kicks you it is no problem. You have to forget and keep going.”
Mejbri remarked that England’s second division has forced him to improve his physicality. The player said that in England one cannot solely rely on their technical talents.
Mejbri said that when he first arrived at Old Trafford from Monaco, he was surprised at the amount of gym work that other players did. He struggled with this as during his time in France, greater emphasis was placed on training with the ball.
Slowly and steadily, however, he got with the programme and this has allowed him to thrive.
Mejbri told Sky Sports that as a number eight, he relishes the dirty work and engaging in duels with the opposition.
The United man credited his upbringing for moulding him into the player he is today – From playing in Paris with his brother, to his Tunisian heritage, Mejbri expressed gratitude for the vital lessons picked up along the way.
He put it clear that the decision to represent Tunisia was a personal one rather than family-inspired. Mejbri insisted that he was hopeful his choice would open the door for others to play for their native nations.