How Elanga won Rangnick over right away
Ralf Rangnick has revealed how Anthony Elanga had wanted to leave the club on loan prior to his appointment as Manchester United interim manager in December.
Rangnick had heard of Elanga but did not have an informed opinion of his ability until his first training session at Carrington, when Anthony stood out among his more established team-mates.
Our talented striker tellingly appeared as a substitute in Ralf’s first match and has since become a breakout star, scoring three goals in 13 games under the German coach so far. His latest strike arrived on the biggest stage yet, against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last 16.
In our post-match press conference at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Wednesday night, Rangnick gave this detailed response when asked how Elanga first caught his eye at United.
“I knew his name of course, I'd heard of him, but I didn't know him as a player,” said Ralf.
“In the first training session, the night before the Crystal Palace game, he was the player with the best training performance in that session so I asked my colleagues and my staff about him and found out that he had almost already decided to leave the club on loan.”
“Right now he has shown what is possible in football with the right mentality and the right approach to go into games. This is exactly what he did and what he always does in every training session.”
In his answer to another question about Elanga, Rangnick said: “Anthony, in all the games he has played so far, just shows that he's playing with all the passion and all the fun and joy.
“He's just enjoying himself on the pitch. He's fully aware what his strength is and what his assets and his weapons are, and he's always trying to play and show those weapons.
“This is what he did again today [against Atletico]. Not only with the goal that he scored, he had another two or three great runs. Whenever he did that, you could, all of a sudden, see that Atletico had problems with this kind of approach.”
Elanga is now focusing on his recovery and hopes to feature again, in Saturday's Premier League match against Watford at Old Trafford.