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

The Sweden Under-21 international impressed, adding pace and directness to a United attack which has been lacking that too often this season.

At his press conference ahead of the game with Brentford on Wednesday night – which was streamed at 12.30pm on the club’s official app, Rangnick was asked about Elanga.

He was full of praise from what he saw from the wideman at the weekend, and talked him up more generally as an intelligent and promising prospect for the club.

Aston Villa v Manchester United - Premier League
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“He’s a young player, he has enough pace and focus on the game. From the very first training session, the day before the Crystal Palace game, he was showing up in the training sessions,” said Rangnick when asked about Elanga.

“That was the reason I decided to play him at Villa Park. I thought he did well – he showed exactly what I expected him to deliver.

“He is a very bright boy, he listens to what he should do and he is trying to put all the effort into his performances. I was pleased with his performance in those 75 minutes he played.”

Elanga’s impressive pre-season included a great goal against Brentford and he deserves to keep his place against the same opponents tomorrow night.

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Cristiano Ronaldo, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford could all be fit for that game, which may squeeze Elanga back onto the bench.

But there was not too much to criticise from his weekend display, where he certainly was not overawed by playing in an important game where United needed a result.

Jadon Sancho may also hope to get in ahead of Elanga, but it was the Swede who looked the more confident and threatening of the two players at Villa.

It is clear that Elanga has a bright future if he keeps going the way he is and in Rangnick, he has a manager who is adept at working with and improving young players.

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