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"I wish a few other players would take him [Elanga] as a role model."
After an extremely poor first-half performance from the Premier League side at the Wanda Metropolitano, Rangnick decided to change things up and bring on academy graduate Elanga. It was absolutely the right move.
With his first touch of the game, Elanga cooly slotted past the huge presence of Jan Oblak in the Atletico goal after being played through by Bruno Fernandes.
The rise of this 19-year-old winger from Sweden has yet to be really documented until now. After the full-time whistle, Rangnick gave a fascinating insight into how the player was close to leaving Old Trafford until he walked through the door.
You can see that brilliant clip below.
Ralf Rangnick has high praise for Anthony Elanga and reveals that he was close to leaving Manchester United but the interim boss loved what he saw in training and told him to stay. 🌟 pic.twitter.com/1ztFheJC52— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) February 23, 2022
Rangnick began: "Apart from his name, of course, I had heard about his name before but not as a player because he didn't play for Manchester United.
"The first training session the night before the Crystal Palace game, he was the player with the best training performance.
"I asked my staff members about him and found out he had almost already decided to leave the club on loan. So a week after the Palace game (he came on in the game) I said, listen, I want you stay and see how you are doing in the training games until the end of the closure of the transfer window.
"I think right now he has just shown what is possible in football with the right mentality, the right approach, this is exactly what he did and what he always does in every training session."
The 63-year-old continued: "In all the games he has played so far, he just shows that he's playing with all the passion and all the fun, he's just enjoying himself on the pitch. He's fully aware of his strengths, of his assets and his weapons. He is always trying to play and show those weapons. This is what he did today.
"Apart from the goal he scored, he had two or three great runs and whenever he did that you could all of a sudden see Atletico had problems with this kind of approach.
"But we have to show this with other positions as well, not only Anthony Elanga. We have to play like this in every single position and if we want to proceed in the qualifiers in the next few weeks at Old Trafford we have to play exactly like that."
ELANGA EQUALIZES WITH HIS FIRST TOUCH OF THE GAME 🔥 pic.twitter.com/QuDbbVh3N4— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 23, 2022
As mentioned earlier, Rangnick urged his players to follow the example set by Elanga after his Champions League efforts.
"He is playing as though it is a dream come true, it is a joy and fun to watch him play," the German told BT Sport after the game. "I wish a few other players would take him as an example and as a role model.
"Football is an important sport, even more so for the supporters, and it is a ball game. This is what I wish us to do especially in the second leg."
"After the performance in the first half it could only get better."— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 23, 2022
"I wish a few other players would take Elanga as an example."
Ralf Rangnick was not happy with Man Utd's first-half display but it's game on for the second leg 👊
🎙 @TheDesKelly | #UCL pic.twitter.com/bgzrGjKCXN
Thoughts on Rangnick's comments about Elanga? Does he deserve to start in United's upcoming games?
Let us know in the comments.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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