Anthony Elanga’s emergence has undoubtedly been one of the success stories to come from Ralf Rangnick’s brief reign in charge.

The fearless 19-year-old has been a breath of fresh air in a United dressing room where Elanga’s senior teammates have floundered time and time again.

From the moment Rangnick was appointed as interim boss back in November, Elanga’s importance in the United side has continued to grow.

After coming off the bench and rescuing a draw in Madrid, the Swedish under-21 international was given a start in the frustrating 0-0 draw against Watford on Saturday.

Manchester United v Watford - Premier League
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United’s number 36 has featured in every single Premier League we have played in 2022 so far, and he will no doubt be targeting a place in Rangnick’s starting line-up for Sunday’s Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium.

Elanga has shown great character to bounce back from his penalty miss against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup last month.

And coming off the bench to score in a hostile Wanda Metropolitano highlights how he isn’t fazed by the big occasion.

But Sunday’s trip to Manchester City will be the biggest domestic game Elanga has been involved in to date.

Atletico Madrid v Manchester United: Round Of Sixteen Leg One - UEFA Champions League
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Scoring and playing in the highly-charged clash against rivals Leeds United at Elland Road gave Elanga a glimpse of how much these big games mean.

After dropping two points against Watford, United have piled the pressure on themselves to get points against Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool, in the pursuit of fourth spot.

Such has been Elanga’s impressive and humble rise to prominence, the raw teenager should be unleashed against Pep Guardiola’s side.

With Marcus Rashford’s malaise showing no signs of being brought to a halt, Rangnick may entrust Elanga with a starting berth against the league leaders.

Manchester United v Watford - Premier League
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Rashford and Elanga look in completely different worlds when it comes to self-belief and confidence. United cannot afford to have an out-of-form wandering around Rashford, feeling sorry for himself.

Elanga will put a shift in and against Guardiola’s side and that has to be a given.

But his desire to run in-behind as he did to devastating effect against the reigning La Liga champions could strike fear into City’s defence.

It shows how far Elanga has come in such a short space of time that his case to be given a start in the Manchester derby is being put forward.

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