United Briefing: Five fast facts about Elanga
Manchester United forward Anthony Elanga is the latest Academy product to be introduced to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's senior squad.
The manager has suggested the 18-year-old will be among the substitutes when the Reds face Granada in the Europa League quarter-final first leg tonight (Thursday), and he would have no qualms about pitching him into the action.
“He's not just there for experience,” Ole told us. “He might actually play a part, who knows? He's got that X-factor and I like players with speed and acceleration and he's definitely got that.”
So how much do you know about Elanga? Read up on the teenager...
Anthony plays his international football for Sweden and has represented them at various under-age levels. In 2019, he played in the Under-17 European Championship and scored twice against France, while also coming up against England defender and club team-mate Teden Mengi. "It is one of the best tournaments I've been to," he told us at the time. "It's always an honour representing my country. I played up front for Sweden and they gave me something of a free role." He'll hope to earn full honours with the Scandinavian nation in the future.
The young attacker was born in Hyllie, in Sweden, in 2002, when his father Joseph was playing for Malmo. Joseph earned 17 international caps for Cameroon and was part of their World Cup squad in 1998. Unlike his son, Joseph was a defender and he also spent time with the likes of PAOK, Apollon Kalamarias and Brondby. "My work ethic has come from my family," explained Anthony. "They have always wanted to push me."
AN AWARD WINNER
The lightning-quick prospect is the reigning Jimmy Murphy Youth Team Player of the Year, after picking up his award during the pre-season training with the Under-23s at The Cliff, due to the COVID-19 restrictions surrounding the Aon Training Complex at the time. “It’s a special award to win,” he said of the Academy honour. “When you look at the names who have won it before like Marcus [Rashford], Mason [Greenwood] and, early on, Ryan Giggs.” He succeeded Greenwood in terms of getting his hand on the prize and became the first Scandinavian to win it since Mats Daehli in 2011/12.
Many of the Academy players forwarded Anthony as the main man when it came to the 10k runs they were doing during the first lockdown. Some suggested his times were pretty sensational and it showed when football resumed for the Under-23s last year. “I feel the stats tell a lot and I have come back a lot stronger and a lot quicker, even more than I expected, to be fair,"”he told us. “Obviously, I put the work in during lockdown, though, and I am happy it has paid off.”
WHAT SORT OF PLAYER IS HE?
Under-23s lead coach Neil Wood had his say on one of his key men after the winger was injured in the Premier League 2 match against Leicester City in January. “It was a shame as I think it was a heavy tackle on Anthony and, up until that point, he was playing really well. I said to him at half-time it looked like he was playing professionally, moving the ball quick, playing inside, linking up and running in behind. He was looking a big threat for us and on top of his game.” Often operating on the left but with the ability to cut inside, he causes problems for defenders and is capable of finishing off chances after using his pace to get through. One of his best performances this term came in the 6-0 win over Salford City in the Papa John's Trophy.
WHAT'S HAPPENING TODAY?
Your first port of call is our regular Media Watch feature, which collates the latest headlines and transfer gossip about United from the press.
Then we urge you to check out our exclusive matchday Q&A with Ole, who is excited for the important quarter-final first leg against Granada.
There's also a big interview with Victor Lindelof coming up, plus a United Quiz on Harry Maguire's 100 appearances so far, but we appreciate the game itself is what you want to know about...
Team news will drop at 18:45 BST and that's just before MUTV's live broadcast from Spain begins at 18:55 BST. Kick-off is of course at 20:00 BST and fans in the UK can watch it via BT Sport.
Our Official App and website will provide unrivalled text updates on the action, before supplying you with exclusive post-match reaction from inside the camp.
Our video of Wednesday's session at the Aon Training Complex is also worth a watch.