Ahead of the final friendly of Manchester United’s pre-season campaign this weekend, The Debate discussed our best player so far and the panel was unanimous in choosing Anthony Elanga as the stand-out individual.
This is a time when players can stake their claim for a starting place and the Academy youngster hit the ground running in the games against Derby County, Queens Park Rangers and Brentford.
Unfortunately, the clash at Preston North End was cancelled but there is still Saturday’s Old Trafford encounter with Everton to come, with the eagerly anticipated action live on MUTV.
Ex-winger Ben Thornley believes Elanga is in contention to start in the Premier League opener with Leeds United on 14 August, following his goals against QPR and Brentford.
“He could be a candidate for the left-hand side,” he said. “He’s definitely laid down a marker, that’s for sure. We were talking about Mason [Greenwood], Paul Pogba and Dan [James] but, if he keeps performing like that, it will be hard for the manager to ignore, especially if he does play and scores goals. That’s priceless.
“I just think he’s a lad who has come through the Under-23s, when we watched him last season. He’s got explosive pace, always wants to play on the shoulder and can play either side as well as through the middle. If he gets away, you’re never going to catch him. He’s got great feet and is brave; you saw that with the goal he scored at Wolves with his head.
“There is going to be a lot of talk among the coaching staff about which players are part of the squad, maybe go on loan or are not going to be here come the end of August. He’s one that caught my eye massively last season as well and he seems a very level-headed young man. If he keeps it up, he can be a huge part of Ole’s plans this season and rightly so, so far.”
Former defender David May added: “I second what Ben has said. He’s stepped onto the scene like a duck to water and has been absolutely sensational.
“He’s only going to get better. Something that is very special for Manchester United is we always like to bring the youth through. I don’t know, he’s got everything – two great feet, lightning quick, brave with his head and scores great goals. He’ll also score tap-ins as well, which is what a centre-forward has to do. I’m very excited to watch him over the next 12-18 months.”
Watch Anthony Elanga’s excellent finish against Brentford.
“Ole brought him on last season and he had a taste of it,” said Wes Brown. “I just think Ole can only hope he can produce what we all know he can do. He wants it and has done really well. He put him straight back into the squad and Ole knows he can use him. It looks like the lad wants it as well.
Danny Webber agreed, when it came to choosing our star man of pre-season.
“I can’t elaborate any further,” he stated. “He’s been top drawer. It’s Elanga for me.”
Look out for the full episode of The Debate later today on our official club channels.