Who is Anthony Elanga: Everything you need to know about Manchester United's next sensation
Anthony Elanga is tipped to make his Champions League debut for Manchester United tonight at Old Trafford against Young Boys.
New interim boss Ralf Rangnick brought him off the bench at the weekend and it is very likely Elanga features this evening, with plenty of rotation expected. He could even be a starter in this final group stage fixture.
With this in mind we have put together a helpful reminder on everything you need to know about the exciting forward.
Elanga is the son of former Cameroon international Joseph Elanga, who played at the 1998 World Cup.
He was born in Sweden while his dad was playing club football for Malmo, back in 2002.
He has committed his international football to Sweden, representing his country from youth level through to under-21s. Elanga caught the eye back in 2019 playing for Sweden’s under-17 side.
United academy star
United signed Elanga when he was 14, and the youngster really started making a name for himself once he reached under-18s age group.
After breaking into the under-18s in 2018/19 and scoring three goals and adding five assists, he really kicked on the following season.
He established himself as a starter the following season, scoring seven goals and providing four assists in nine matches. This led to him being named the club’s Jimmy Murphy Award winner in 2020, following the likes of Mason Greenwood, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.
Elanga was subsequently promoted to the under-23s and finished the 2020/21 season as the top scorer with 11 goals. This was an impressive achievement considering he missed three months of action with a collarbone injury.
The youngster is still only 19-years-old and does not turn 20 until next April.
Elanga’s style of play
Elanga can play wide left as part of a front three or up front as part of a pairing. For the under-23s he has often played as a lone striker at times too.
He is a rapid player, blessed with a combination of pace and strong dribbling ability. He also possesses great technique, displayed by his volley in pre-season against Brentford.
Elanga has also shown this season he is good with his head, netting headers for the first team against Wolves and for Sweden’s under-21s.
Testaments to Elanga’s character aid his performances on the pitch too. He is a selfless, hard working player who gives his all on and off the pitch.
You won’t get many better illustrations of what Elanga is capable of than this EFL Trophy goal scored against Accrington in 2020.
A prolific 2021
Elanga’s 2021 got off to an unfortunate start when he sustained a collarbone injury for the under-23s, in a game in which he had already scored twice. He returned from injury in April and made up for lost time.
The youngster has seven goals in seven games for Sweden’s under-21 side, pretty impressive considering he only made his debut at under-21 level in June.
This season Elanga has four goals in eight games at under-23 level, plus two assists, and another goal in one of his two UEFA Youth League appearances.
Add together his academy goals at the end of last season (5), this season (5), his Sweden under-21 goals (7), his first team goal against Wolves, and his two for United in pre-season, and Elanga has 20 goals to his name in 2021.
First team chances
Elanga made two first team appearances last season and has made a further two in 2021/22 to date.
The youngster made his debut against Leicester City at the end of last season at Old Trafford, and then scored after 13 minutes in a start against Wolves on the last day of the season, heading in a cross from Dan James in an away victory.
This season he came off the bench in the Carabao Cup defeat to West Ham to play 17 minutes, before a similar length cameo under Ralf Rangnick this past weekend in the Premier League against Crystal Palace.
Elanga played three pre-season matches, scoring in two, against QPR and Brentford, before an ill-timed injury stopped his progress in it’s tracks.
Elanga is highly rated
Anthony Elanga is a very good player. Don’t just take our word for it, look at the praise from players and coaches who have worked alongside him in his career so far.
Bruno 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.”
Sweden under-21 coach Poya Asbaghi told Fotboll Skanalen earlier this year: “He is an exciting player and he is very humble who does not come with any kind of prestige just because he is from Manchester United. He has his feet on the ground.”
Speaking in pre-season via the club website:, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “There was some very good movement from Anthony Elanga, with his energy, enthusiasm, pace and quality. He’s doing so well. He’s electric, he’s got pace, skill and he’s got the courage and bravery of a Man United player.”
He went on to add: “He works so hard, he’s always smiley, bright, asking what more he needs to do, he’s so hungry to improve and get better. He can play wide left, wide right, up front, so anywhere along the front line. He’s going to be an asset.”
Midfielder Nemanja Matic praised his attitude and his talent earlier this season, speaking in October he told the club: “I’m always happy to help players when they are good lads who want to improve, they want to listen and to learn. Anthony is one of the young players who respects the players that are older than him and the players that have more experience.
“So I am very happy with the way he improves and the way he is training and playing in games. So I think he is a very important player for us, in the future, as I see him in the first XI in the next upcoming seasons.”
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