Manchester United legend Bryan Robson has credited the emergence of Anthony Elanga as one of the reasons behind the improved form of Marcus Rashford.
Elanga, 19, came up through the United youth setup before making his senior debut last season. The Sweden Under-21 star started in a 2-1 defeat to Leicester City on May 11. And he was given the nod again by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and responded with a goal in a 2-1 victory over Wolves on May 23.
The youngster has been back in the reserves this term save for an EFL Cup outing in September last year. But he came on as a substitute as the Red Devils beat Crystal Palace 1-0 on December 5.
And Ralf Rangnick clearly liked what he saw as the Scandinavian has now enjoyed five league outings and three starts. Elanga notched his first goal of the campaign as the Old Trafford giants beat Brentford 3-1 on January 19.
Rashford has struggled in 2021-2022. After returning from injury in October, the England ace scored three top-flight goals.
But he failed to find the net again until that triumph over the Bees. The 24-year-old grabbed the winner against West Ham last time out.
And Robson believes Elanga’s presence in the side has focused Rashford’s mind.
“I think Elanga has done really well in the three games he’s played,” he told United Daily, per The Metro. “He’s shown loads of energy, he’s brave and quick, he’s got a lot about him.
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“I think because he’s been in the team a couple of times it just looks like it’s sharpened Marcus up and Marcus knows he’s got to work hard, he’s got to start scoring goals again, which he’s proved in the last few games.
“So hopefully that’ll spur Marcus into coming back into form.”
Elanga form sparks Man Utd exodus
Rangnick has already sanctioned the January exit of Anthony Martial. The France international has joined Sevilla on loan until the end of the season.
And Amad Diallo has made a loan move north of the border to join Rangers. Jesse Lingard and Donny van de Beek have also been tipped to leave before the transfer window closes on Monday night.
The German coach has backed Elanga to continue his rise at the Theatre of Dreams. And it if helps Rashford recapture his best form, United will have every chance of maintaining their top-four challenge.