Anthony Elanga can copy Mason Greenwood trick and solve a big problem for Manchester United – Manchester Evening News

The last player to emerge from Manchester United’s academy and be given a regular place in the first team by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was Mason Greenwood.

20-year-old Greenwood made his competitive debut as an 87th-minute substitute in a 3–1 win against Paris Saint-Germain back in 2019, and the youngster is now a regular in United’s matchday squads. However, opportunities for the club’s other academy stars have been limited in recent years.

When Greenwood was first integrated into the senior set-up, United were struggling for consistency. He made his first Premier League appearance as a late substitute in the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal, while his full league debut came in a 2-0 defeat to Cardiff.

If you look at the position United are in at the moment, it’s very similar in terms of results. A run of two wins from their last six matches is not a good look and the pressure on Solskjaer is beginning to mount.

With the likes of Joe Hugill, Shola Shoretire and Hannibal Mejbri all waiting for their chance to impress, Solskjaer has plenty of youngsters to choose from if he wants to freshen things up and this could be the perfect opportunity. It certainly worked with Greenwood, so why not try it again now?

There’s one individual who absolutely deserves his chance and that’s Anthony Elanga. The 19-year-old has been putting in some outstanding performances of late and has surely given Solskjaer plenty to think about over the international break.

During pre-season, Elanga was absolutely sensational, scoring two goals in four games and seemingly persuading the United manager not to ship him out on loan.



Anthony Elanga of Manchester United in action during a first team training session at Carrington Training Ground on August 27, 2021 in Manchester, England.
Elanga could play a big role in United’s game against teams who play with a low block

He’s been in similar form with the U23 side early this season, scoring three goals and providing one assist.

In his last 14 matches for United’s first team, Sweden’s U21s and United’s U23s, he’s scored an impressive 12 goals. United have struggled in the wide areas this season and Elanga could be the answer to their problems.

United have struggled to break down teams who play a low block because of a lack of width. Greenwood is more of an inside forward, Jadon Sancho still needs time to adjust to the Premier League and Paul Pogba often finds himself wandering into a more central position.

When you play teams who sit back and try to soak up pressure, playing tricky wingers helps to draw them out of position and can stretch their backline.

Elanga can offer United width and could be a great alternative as Marcus Rashford looks to try and work his way back up to speed.

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Elanga did make an appearance in the Carabao Cup defeat to West Ham, though he was only afforded 19 minutes on the pitch. Despite United needing a goal, he was used as a left-back and, even in an unfamiliar position, he showed glimpses of his rapid pace and intense pressing.

Introducing a youngster into the first team when pressure is beginning to mount seems like a very bad decision, but it worked with Greenwood, why not try it again with Elanga?

Should Elanga be given a chance in the first team? Follow our United On My Mind writer Omar Garrick on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below.

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