Three academy stars who can follow Elanga into Manchester United first team this season
Anthony Elanga seized his opportunity for Manchester United in midweek by scoring the opening goal away at Brentford.
Elanga had impressed against Aston Villa days earlier, producing a fearless, polished performance to demonstrate he is ‘first team ready’ and able to make an impact right now.
New interim boss Ralf Rangnick has taken a liking to Elanga, making him a regular in first team training. From there, he has been treated like any other player, and grabbed his opportunity.
United have more promising academy talents in the pipeline too. Elanga’s success will help them, with Rangnick likely to be even more open-minded about calling them up.
Here is a look at three more who could get their chances as the season progresses…
Hannibal’s call-up looks like a sure bet. The youngster has already trained with the first team this season, and has been starring for Tunisia, first at the Arab Cup and currently at the AFCON.
Ralf Rangnick has already confirmed Hannibal will be with the first team squad upon his return from the tournament.
He told the club website: “I’m fully aware that we have another good, highly-talented player coming from our youth ranks and hopefully after the Africa Cup of Nations he can regularly train and be part of our group.
L’Equipe reported the German boss was ‘following his development’ at Monaco with a view to signing him for RB Leipzig in 2020 before he signed with Manchester United.
Hannibal can play in several positions across the midfield and attack, and should replace Juan Mata in the squad. He could even become a successor to Paul Pogba.
United may only start to see him break through from around March. It has taken a little while for Rangnick to throw Elanga in fully. Now he is getting the rewards, with Elanga benefitting from his coaching.
Shola Shoretire is the obvious beneficiary if Jesse Lingard leaves the club this month. Even if Lingard hangs around, United should ring the changes anyway, and promote Shoretire.
The 17-year-old has been United’s most consistent player at under-23 level this season and is well on course to better his numbers from last season.
Including goals in the UEFA Youth League too, Shoretire has scored seven goals and provided six assists.
He showed his promise in pre-season, providing two assists in his three pre-season showings as a substitute.
Shoretire is an intelligent player with great technical quality, and he can really benefit from getting the chance to train under Rangnick and his coaches. His form at academy level is going to put him on the first team radar soon.
Isak Hansen-Aaroen could be the surprise name called up to help with Manchester United’s midfield before the season is over.
With James Garner, Dylan Levitt and Ethan Galbraith all out on loan, Hansen-Aaroen could become the next in line to step up.
Over the past couple of months the Norwegian has been cementing his role as a regular in United’s under-23 side, after success in the under-18s last season.
Hansen-Aaroen has already played first team football for Tromso, and his style of play could make United a lot more enjoyable to watch.
The teenager is comfortable in possession and does not treat the ball like a hot potato, he is equally comfortable passing to a teammate or dribbling past an opponent, and likes to take touches in the final third.
While both Charlie Savage and Zidane Iqbal will be competing for a chance too after featuring against Young Boys, Hansen-Aaroen was not eligible as he did not count as a homegrown player, and so when it comes to a Premier League chance, he might well be ahead of both of them.
This season he has one goal and three assists at all levels for United’s academy sides.
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