Bruno Fernandes reacts to Anthony Elanga's performance
Anthony Elanga seized his chance for Manchester United against Aston Villa, showing he belongs at first team level.
The Sweden under-21 star looked bright, alert, and decisive as he provided a constant outlet for United in attack.
His performance impressed teammate Bruno Fernandes, who spoke highly of the 19-year-old after the match.
Speaking to the club website, Fernandes said: “Anthony is a kid, I said last season already, that works hard, works well, he’s prepared to be in the team, to play.
“He’s been a top kid, waiting his moment, training really hard and he deserved the chance he got today and he was, for me, one of the best on the pitch. He gave everything.
“I said to him my goal started from his header. That seems nothing but it’s a really important moment in the game. We’re really happy for him because he deserves this chance.”
Elanga clearly has the respect of his teammates and his performance showed why. Fernandes has already been on record praising him, as he referred to in his interview.
Fernandes told the club website in May: “He is impressing everyone because he is a really nice kid. Quiet, works hard. He is really good on the ball, plays with both feet. So he has a future. If he puts his head focused on what he has to do and what he can achieve, I think he has a future with us.”
It might just have been coincidence, but United struggled after Elanga was taken off. Jadon Sancho came on, and the big money signing did not have the impact we would have wanted, while Villa made two changes of their own and started to cut through United’s midfield.
Elanga benefitted from Marcus Rashford being out with injury, and he grabbed his chance. Rashford seized his opportunity back in 2016 in similar circumstances.
The situation with Elanga is little different of course. The under-23 star was mounting a case to start even before Rashford’s injury, and may have got the call anyway, thanks to an impressive cameo in midweek.
Ralf Rangnick seems to be a big fan of the youngster, and even if his reign in charge continues to generally underwhelm, Elanga’s emergence could turn out to be the one positive every United fan remembers, providing the youngster can kick on from here.
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