Rangnick delivers verdict on Elanga's performance vs Villa

Ralf Rangnick handed Anthony Elanga his first Premier League start of the season when Manchester United faced Aston Villa.

Elanga was selected ahead of Jadon Sancho on the left wing, with Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo out injured.

Anthony Martial was, once again, not in the squad and Rangnick commented on both wingers in interviews after the game.

On Sky Sports, Rangnick praised Elanga’s performance, but refused to say that he had definitively usurped Sancho in the pecking order.

In a separate conversation with MUTV, Rangnick shed light on Martial’s absence during a transfer window where the Frenchman has already made his desire to leave clear.

Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images

When asked to assess Elanga’s performance, Rangnick said: “He did well, he had two good opportunities himself to score but he showed what I expected him to show and why I played him from the start.”

He was asked whether Elanga is ahead of Sancho in his thinking and said: “We have so many games to play that I am not thinking who is ahead of whom. It was today, the decision to play [Elanga] from the start but it could be different in the next game.”

On MUTV about Martial, Rangnick said: “He [Martial] didn’t want to be in the squad, he would have been in the squad normally but he didn’t want to and that was the reason why he didn’t travel with us yesterday.”

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

There is definitely more benefit in giving Elanga, who is at the start of his United career and has plenty of potential, gametime than Martial.

Martial wants a new challenge and has seemingly come to the end of his tether at the club.

It has come to something when Martial would rather not make the trip down to the Midlands with the squad when United have eight subs on the bench.

Many fans will not take kindly to that and it appears to be an extension of the bid to make an exit from Old Trafford, but who can afford him and wants to take him on?

Meanwhile, this was a good night for Elanga personally, and he certainly did not let his manager down.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.