Rangnick: 'He is a top mentality player'
Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick believes Anthony Elanga has what it takes to make the next positive steps in his fledgling career.
The Sweden forward turned 20 on Thursday and will hope to start in another big game this term, when the Reds take on current European champions Chelsea at Old Trafford in the 19:45 BST kick-off.
For somebody so young, Elanga's mentality has certainly impressed the German coach, ever since he first arrived in Manchester, and there appears no doubt that the Academy graduate is capable of kicking on again when Erik ten Hag takes charge in the summer.
“Well, since he is a clear head, since he is a top mentality player," Rangnick told club media in an exclusive interview. "I'm sure he can take and make the next steps, which are also important for him to take.
“It’s not for him an issue of character or mentality. I’m pretty sure, whenever I saw him train or play, even in the first training session the night before the Crystal Palace game, I knew his name but had never seen him play before. So I asked my coaching staff at the time, Kieran [McKenna] and Darren Fletcher: ‘Who is he? I haven’t seen him play before’.
“Since then, he has always been a player who gave his very best, where I could always be assured what kind of level, physical level and mentality level, he will invest.”
More youngsters could follow Elanga into the senior squad with injuries to Harry Maguire and Jadon Sancho opening the door in terms of the game with Chelsea at Old Trafford.
However, Rangnick has reiterated the timing must be right, when asked about the likes of Alejandro Garnacho, Alvaro Fernandez, Shola Shoretire and Will Fish, although the latter two have already played in the first team.
“There will definitely be three or four as part of the squad and on the teamsheet but, again, it’s important to give those players a debut when it has to be the right moment for them," he added..
“I don’t think I would do those players a favour if I brought them into not the right game or right moment. It should be a special moment for them but also the right moment for them, in order to perform.”