Manchester United had a season to forget last term with three managers at the helm for different periods of the season. It was expected interim manager Ralf Rangnick’s appointment would help the team play a more proactive brand of football but results took an even greater nosedive. The only positive from last season was the emergence of Anthony Elanga.
While the young Sweden international made his debut under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Rangnick trusted him in big matches and he ended up making 27 appearances in all competitions, scoring thrice and assisting twice.
But with Erik ten Hag at the helm, every player has had to start from scratch and the 20-year-old knows the importance of impressing the new boss if he is to retain his status as a first-team player and kick on from last season.
Ideally, that would involve upping his output in terms if number of goals and assists as well as fulfilling his manager’s requirements.
The young Swedish star also has his task cut out if he is to play on his preferred left-wing position. Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial all prefer that side of the pitch and playing from the start will not be easy.
🗣 – Elanga: “I want to be a starter for #mufc, which I think is a dream for any young lad coming through the academy. That’s what I’m trying to achieve, to aim for.”
— UtdXclusive (@UtdXclusive) July 17, 2022
“I want to be able to take my game to the next level, I want to build on what I did last season, make it even better. That’s why I’m using pre-season, going game by game.
“When I say take my game to the next level I want to be able to score more goals, make more assists. Affect the games, be a danger player, be a starter for Man United, which I think is a dream for any young lad coming through the academy. That’s what I’m trying to achieve, aim for,” the academy graduate said.
No more fitness issues for the squad
In a concerning admission, the Malmo-born attacker admitted that despite Rangnick’s wishes, the team was physically incapable of performing the way the German wanted due to their low fitness levels.
“We know we weren’t as fit last season,” the 20-year-old said. “I think we’re even fitter this season, running for the team, running off the ball and running with the ball.”
And Elanga also revealed that the squad as a whole have really been impressed with the new manager’s coaching style and are putting in the hard yards so as to avoid a repeat of last year’s shambolic display.
“That element of running and pressing is really important. That’s one of the things the manager has brought into the team and we are really buying into it. I feel like the whole team can press. It’s all in the mind – if you want to do it, you can do it. It’s a new style that we’ve got. It’s different now.
“I feel like everyone wants to impress, especially now we’ve got a new manager, new system and a new style. It’s important everyone tries to impress and it starts in pre-season,” he added.
And Elanga has worked on his fitness quite a lot during the off-season so as to be ready to hit the ground running.
“I have been working with my personal trainer Tom Joyce, who I’ve known for a long time. He’s one of the reasons I am where I am today, he has helped me a lot. Not just on the pitch but off the pitch as well, my mentality. So I appreciate him, he is a really good guy, I will continue working with him.”
And fans will hope the exciting winger can go from strength to strength and cement his place in the new boss’ plans for the coming season.