Man Utd starlet Anthony Elanga has chance to prove his worth on Wednesday night with youngster expected to make Champions League debut against Young Boys
One player looking to impress Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick on Wednesday will be promising young winger Anthony Elanga.
With United already through to the Champions League last 16 as group winners, Elanga will be one of several players given a chance to showcase his talent in front of Rangnick and 75,000 fans at Old Trafford against Swiss champions Young Boys.
Elanga, a Sweden Under-21 star, who is the son of former Cameroon international Joseph Elanga, is said to have impressed Rangnick, who brought the 19-year-old on for the final moments of United’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace last Sunday.
Having made his breakthrough at the end of last season, when he made two Premier League appearances under former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, scoring in a 2-1 win at Wolves on the final day of the campaign, Elanga will now be looking to force his way into the first-team squad on a regular basis under Rangnick.
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Born in Sweden, while his dad was playing for Malmo, Elanga signed for United at the age of 14, and started to attract attention in the 2018-19 season, playing for the Under-18s.
His impressive form saw him win United’s Jimmy Murphy award, presented to the club’s stand-out young players, with previous winners including Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Mason Greenwood.
The following season Elanga was promoted to the Under-23s, where he continued his progress with 11 goals, to ed the season as top scorer, even more impressive considering he was sidelined for three months with a collarbone injury.
Elanga, who can play wide left of the attack or through the middle as a striker, impressed Solskjaer and his coaching staff to the extent he was promoted to the first-team last season, where he has remained. His pace, ability to take on and beat opponents, allied to his superb first touch and technique, have all marked him out as a star of the future for United.
His industry and work-rate, in particular his willingness to track back and help out defensively, will certainly endear him to Rangnick, who demands such traits from players as part of his high-intensity, high-pressing approach.
United’s senior players have been impressed with Elanga, with Bruno Fernandes saying: “He’s impressing everyone because he’s a really nice kid. He’s quiet, works hard. He’s really good on the ball and plays with both feet so he has a future. If he’s focused on what he has to do and what he can achieve, I think he has a future with us.”
Wednesday is not make-or-break for Elanga in terms of his United career, but a huge opportunity for him to show what he can do on his Champions League debut, in front of a new manager, who has a history of giving a chance to young players who are willing to be developed and nurtured by him.