Manchester United are renowned for their excellent prospects in their academy. Anthony Elanga is the latest talent on their treadmill.
Elanga traveled with the United squad for their Europa League quarter-final against Granada and could become the last player to make his debut under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
We’ve updated you on the beloved teenager.
Who is he?
Son of the former Cameroonian left-back Joseph Elanga, Anthony was born in Sweden in April 2002 and moved to England with his family in 2013.
He first gained attention when he played for the Sunday League team Hattersley FC before joining United’s Under-12s.
After scoring seven goals in nine U18 games in 2019-20, Elanga won United’s prestigious Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award.
He has yet to make his competitive debut for the first team but cI’m a second-half substitute in the pre-season friendly against Aston Villa in September 2020.
The 18-year-old has taken a permanent step among the Under-23s this season and has played with six goals and two assists in 12 Premier League 2 appearances before sustaining a collarbone injury in January 2021.
He signed a new long-term contract at Old Trafford in March 2021 and was then added to their Europa League squad a few weeks later.
Elanga is also selected at the Under-17 level by Sweden, making five appearances and scoring two goals.
Anthony Elanga’s 🚀 v Newcastle pic.twitter.com/ojXzHNxTH7
– utdreport Academy (@utdreportAcad) April 3, 2020
Where he plays
Elanga plays mostly on the left wing for United’s Under-23s, but was also used on the opposite flank and in the middle as a No.9.
Renowned for his frenetic pace and brilliant talent, the winger causes problems to full-backs with his ability to take on players, but he can also cut in and shoot his right foot harder.
While his academy graduate colleague Marcus Rashford currently has the starting role on the left flank, he’s struggled with injury issues this season, which could give Elanga a chance to claim his place in the first team.
An incredible effort from Anthony Elanga of Man United! 🔥😱 pic.twitter.com/FaxAwX4kO5
– Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 30, 2020
What he said
– “You look at Mason and Rashy, there is a path there”, said Elanga PA news agency in November 2020. “It just shows you that if you’re ready to put in some work to do and keep working hard day in and day out in training, there is a path for you there.
“Obviously we have a manager at Ole who trusts young people, so there is a way and I have to keep working hard.
“I put the work into everyday, day after day. If I carry on as I am, keep working hard, hope there is a way there.
“I will always improve myself. In training I always work hard and the way I train is the way I play. You can see it in the results and I’m just happy at the moment I’m enjoying my football. “
– “My father played with him [Samuel Eto’o] and always said he was an example to watch, the way he was on the pitch, ”Elanga added.
“We play in similar positions – he used to play left striker or right winger – and Thierry Henry used to do the same, so probably the two people I used to watch growing up.
“My dad is the reason I really fell in love with football. I remember watching it. He was a left-back. He was quick – obviously I’m faster! – but he was a very good player.
– “Thierry Henry was my idol and I tried to match my game with his,” Elanga said. Athletic in October 2020. “He was quick. He could play anywhere of the top three – striker, left wing, right wing – and that’s how I want to replicate my game.
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What they said
– “Anthony will be in the team, he will be on the bench,” Solskjaer said ahead of United’s game against Granada in April 2021. “He impressed when he was training with us.
“He was very unlucky a couple of months ago when he had a serious injury and he worked really hard to come back because he just had to get into the first team at the time.
“He has an X factor, certain attributes, it’s not like a gift, but he has the acceleration, the pace, the speed, it’s a given for the wingers and he has qualities that I like.
“He’s a scoring winger, he’s confident, he likes to beat men, right foot, left foot, he has a very good attitude. His appetite and thirst to improve and when he trains with us while he’s here now he hasn’t been bothered by that, he’s confident.
“He’s not just there for the experience, he’s ready to play a role if he needs to.”
– “He’s an exciting player and he scored some great goals for the Under-18s last season,” academy director Nick Cox told United’s official website in September 2020.
“Off the pitch Anthony is extremely dedicated and always puts the maximum effort, whether it’s in his education, training or recovery work, and that’s exactly what we want to see from our young players.
“On the pitch he has become more consistent, regularly showing his pace, flair and finish, while improving his pace of work.
– “Anthony needs to focus on the Under 23s. He’s got an explosive pace, he’s ready to run behind and tactically he’s very conscious on and off the ball, ”Under-23 manager Neil Wood told the Manchester Evening News in September 2020.
“What you see is a boy who sees the light of the first team and wants to make it happen and he’s going to work every day to try to fit in there.
– “Anthony is one of the hardest workers we have,” Neil Wood told The Athletic in October 2020. “He is in desperate need of improvement, desperate for knowledge. He watches videos of all the top players, he wants to learn from all the top players and he is the first to do extra work after practice.
“You can see the effort and the pace of work, we just have to put it away with its control and combination work on the edge of the box. We need him to produce a goal or help him when he finds himself in dangerous positions.
“He knows he needs to be a little calmer in these situations, and it’s an ongoing process, but he’s always willing to take information. He’s a player you can sit down with and have a really good conversation about his football. “
– Gary Neville called Elanga a “nightmare to play against” and called his goal “Thierry-Henry-esque” while co-commenting on the Under-21’s 6-0 win over Salford City in the EFL Trophy in September 2020.
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