Anthony Elanga could assist fix Manchester United’s tactical problems
It hasn’t yet occurred this season, mainly due to the size of Manchester United’s puffed up squad and the situations surrounding this distinct season. However you feel it will occur quickly.
We are now well into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 3rd season ‘at the wheel’ of United and in each of the previous 2, there was an academy development of severe note.
After being designated in December 2018, Solskjaer restored academy products like Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira to the side. When injuries struck, he was confident to toss Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes into the mix. He even found time to hand senior debuts to Chong, Mason Greenwood and James Garner within the space of a few months.
Last season, Solskjaer actually felt this United group was his own and was compelled to promote Greenwood to a regular very first group role with sensational success, as the teen plundered 17 senior objectives in his first correct season.
There was likewise an unexpected development for Brandon Williams, cementing himself as an outstanding full-back option for the first string after Ashley Young’s departure. Axel Tuanzebe would have played more frequently, had it not been for injuries. Ethan Laird and Teden Mengi were also handed launchings, as were the raft of children who stood for United in that Europa League video game against Astana, almost exactly a year back. See Dylan Levitt, D’mani Mellor, Ethan Galbraith and Di’Shon Bernard.
And although this season started behind normal, it’s odd that we are now almost into December and Solskjaer hasn’t yet promoted another youngster from within. Mengi, you think, will get his opportunity and is still very young, at 18, for a blossoming centre-back.
Galbraith included in midfield along with Donny van de Beek in United’s only pre-season game, against Aston Villa, before the season began. But then the midfield cavalry returned from their numerous international stations, leaving the Northern Irishman’s possibilities slim.
Now, if you asked experts at United’s training ground to count on one child making the leap to the first string this season, they would undoubtedly say one name: Anthony Elanga.
The Swedish-born forward won the prestigious Jimmy Murphy young gamer of the year award last season, previously won by Rashford, Greenwood and academy greats like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. That shows the esteem in which he is held at the club, though it’s fair to say this season Elanga has actually currently kicked on and is performing necessary duties for the Under-23s. He’s only 18, however he is now a crucial gamer at that level.
Shorn of centre-forward options after Mellor suffered a season-ending injury and Elanga, more comfortable out large, has actually been asked to play as No. 9 generally for United.
He’s done a fine job leading the line, scoring two times and laying on two helps. But for the Under-21s at Morecambe on Wednesday night manager Neil Wood gave new finalizing Joe Hugill a chance down the middle and brought Elanga on, after an hour, to play as an advanced right wing-back.
Wood told GUYS Sport: “We changed it towards completion, to a flat 4 across the front to try and get more attacking prowess up there and I believed Anthony began and added a bit to our attack. It’s a hard one to break down.
” We went to three at the back and they were comfortable with the little formation changes.”
Although United might not claw back the 4-0 deficit they dealt with that night at Morecambe, Wood was best to applaud Elanga for his adaptability.
At youth level, gamers should be flexible sufficient to take their possibilities whenever they are available in the very first group and in whatever position they come. Williams proved that at left-back, in spite of being right-footed. Greenwood has played out large rather than in his preferred central sport.
Elanga has the pace to use either flank and his shipment is excellent. He’s now given an indicator that he could play as a wing-back, too.
United’s first string are weeping out for someone with speed to fill the extreme right spot. It’s not an exaggeration to state Elanga might get the job done, however he’s now proven there is more to his game too.