Anthony Elanga has been one of Manchester United’s best players this season at under-23 level.
This continued on Friday night when United took on Everton at Leigh Sports Village.
The big difference was that instead of lining up on the left-wing, Elanga was picked as a central striker.
Striker has been an issue for United’s under-23 side early this season, with the team reliant on calling up Joe Hugill from the under-18s.
Hugill began the game on the bench before coming on at half-time against Everton.
Elanga though will have given United’s coaches something to think about with a sharp display.
Even when Hugill came on, for defender Marcos Rojo, United played both Elanga and the substitute up front together – with Shola Shoretire and Facundo Pellistri on the wings.
One of the teenager’s strengths is his blistering pace, but his cool head in front of goal is another.
Elanga scored when put through on goal and shimmied the goalkeeper before beating him on his near side.
He almost had another when he curled an effort from the edge of the box which left the ‘keeper stranded, before rebounding off the crossbar.
Elanga now sits on three goals for the season, the joint highest scorer at under-23 level including EFL Trophy games, level with Arnau Puigmal and Joe Hugill.
United won the game thanks to a late penalty, with Ethan Galbraith giving the side a much-needed win.
Part of his development
Getting a chance to play in various positions is part of the development for Elanga.
It can be difficult for wide players to succeed in central roles but he made it look easy. He is a threat wherever he plays.
While it is probable that his long term future is as as a winger, a role where United need more talent, his switch into the centre could also be a productive one.
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