Anthony Elanga has been tipped for big things by a Manchester United legend after being a “breath of fresh air” in pre-season.
Elanga made his first-team debut for United in May last season, scoring on his second appearance in the season finale against Wolves. The 19-year-old has potential, but faces a tricky route into the first team on a regular basis. There is plenty of competition for places up front in the Red Devils squad.
All Elanga can do is make the most of the opportunities that come his way. But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given a platform to some young players and will be aware of how the Swedish starlet is progressing.
As the new season gets underway, club legend Dennis Irwin has backed Elanga to play an increasing role.
“We’ve got a great tradition of young lads coming through,” he is quoted as saying by the Mirror, on behalf of Man Utd’s new sponsors, Ecolab. “I watched the U23s during the week and [Shola] Shoretire is a talented footballer.
“I’ve got to say Elanga, he’s looked pretty impressive. I watched him against Chelsea in the Youth Cup probably two years ago and I thought he was our standout player.
“You fast forward, he came in and played against Wolves last year, scored a centre-forward’s goal with his head and I thought he’s been a breath of fresh air in pre-season.
“So he’s got a taste of it. There’s huge competition so I don’t know how much of an involvement he’ll have this season. But no doubt he’ll play in League Cups.
“He might just have to bide his time but I’m sure we’ll see him more and more.”
Elanga scored in friendlies against QPR and Brentford in late July. It is unlikely he will feature in the season opener against Leeds on Saturday lunchtime, though. With a good start essential, Solskjaer may go with the tried and trusted.
Solskjaer hints at attacking selections
Speaking ahead of the match against Leeds, Solskjaer gave updates about three of his main attackers.
Solskjaer is quoted on the Man Utd website as saying: “Jadon [Sancho] has come in and done very good this week. Maybe a little bit too early, I’ll see how he is.
“I’d say you’ll see him. He’s definitely involved in the squad.
“Edi[nson Cavani] is in the country. He’s just finishing off his isolation period. He’s had a little bit of extra time for personal reasons.”
Anthony Martial is also in contention to play, with Solskjaer confirming: “It was always the plan to play him for 45 minutes [against Everton] and now he’s ready for tomorrow.”