United Briefing: Elanga proud after Reds debut
Anthony Elanga made his senior Manchester United debut in Tuesday night's Premier League match against Leicester City.
The 19-year-old made his first start for the Reds in our 2-1 defeat to the Foxes. The youngster, who's been in electric form for the Under-23s this campaign was handed a chance from the off by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the Norwegian made 10 changes to his selection with United's extremely busy schedule in mind.
Our no. 56 has featured on the bench for the first team recently and had previously played in our pre-season friendly at Aston Villa before the 2020/21 campaign.
Elanga, who joined United's Academy in 2018, played 65 minutes under the floodlights at Old Trafford and showed glimpses of his attacking qualities against Brendan Rodgers's side before coming off for Marcus Rashford.
Speaking to MUTV after his maiden Reds appearance, Elanga was proud for accomplishing a childhood dream.
"It felt amazing," he said. "You get told from a young age that the most important [thing] is to win and I would have loved to win on my debut. It wasn’t to be but it’s a dream come true for me and my family. I really enjoyed it out there on the pitch."
The Swede was asked whether he was nervous when he was stood in the tunnel about to make his first game for the club.
"I felt confident, I felt good," Elanga assured our reporter Stewart Gardner.
"I’ve worked hard for this. I’ve trained with this lot and I was like: 'I’m here, just go on the pitch and enjoy myself'. Like everyone said before the game, they told me to enjoy myself and that’s what I tried to do."
Our no. 56 is now targeting more opportunities under Ole and hopes to be a part of the squad for our remaining matches.
"It makes me hungry," he said about his debut. "It makes me want to continue, it makes me want to work even harder in training. I’ve always said I train the way I want to play. I always want to give 100 per cent in training and secure a spot in the team and, hopefully next game, I can be involved again. I want to work hard in training to secure a spot in the team."
In attack, Elanga lined up with players who he has played with before in youngsters Mason Greenwood and Amad, who also made his first United start against the Foxes.
"It felt good," he said. "I’ve played with Mason from a young, young age and Amad recently for the Under-23s, so we’ve built a good bond together. It felt good, hopefully many more opportunities to come."
The 19-year-old thanked his older team-mates for guiding his through his debut, highlighting that our senior players spoke to him during the match.
"All of them really, especially Nemanja Matic. He spoke to me a lot, and obviously Alex [Telles] playing on my side. Even David [De Gea] spoke from the back and, you know, it helps. It gives you the confidence boost that you need."
"It’s been a brilliant season," he summarised."I got injured, I was unfortunate to get injured in January, a bad injury actually, so I’m just happy with how I’ve bounced back. I’ve come back strong and I feel sharper than before. I’m happy with the physios and the coaching staff for getting me through my injury. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today, so thanks to them."
The Swede obviously would have liked to have his family in the stands for his big moment and says he hopes to play in front of a full Old Trafford some day in the future. Despite empty stands, Tuesday night was a night he will not forget.
"Never. It’s a dream come true. People says the hard work start but the hard works continues. I just got to keep going and working hard."
WHAT'S HAPPENING TODAY?
We will start Wednesday by providing you with the latest headlines in our daily Media Watch article before we start looking ahead to our clash with arch-rivals Liverpool on Thursday.
As usual, we will provide you with the latest news from Ole’s pre-match press conference ahead of the previously postponed encounter with Jurgen Klopp’s side.
WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY?
In addition, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Nemanja Matic shared their views on the disappointing defeat for a much-changed Reds starting XI. In his post-match press conference, the boss said he is targeting additions in the summer.
Before the match, we published an injury update on Harry Maguire and provided a get-to-know Anthony Elanga article ahead of his debut against the Foxes. We also announced that youngster Max Taylor will leave the club as he is seeking opportunities elsewhere.