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“Plays and runs”- Man United legend explains what in-form starlet adds to their attack ahead of derby

Manchester United's Swedish striker Anthony Elanga celebrates a goal.
Manchester United's Swedish striker Anthony Elanga celebrates a goal. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Rio Ferdinand pinpoints what Anthony Elanga has changed in Manchester United attack

Speaking in his latest Vibe With Five podcast (h/t Manchester Evening News), former Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand has talked out about how winger Anthony Elanga has added a different dimension to the club’s attack.

Elanga was United’s hero last week against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Round of 16 of the Champions League, as the Swede’s equaliser towards the end of the game meant that his team returned to Manchester with all to play for in the second leg of the tie.

Ferdinand, who won 6 Premier League titles with United, said that Elanga had to be credited for his role in the team, as he was a forward capable of causing disruption to the opposition rearguard.

“He plays and runs, he’s on the move, he causes disruption to the opposition defenders. At the weekend, a bit more composure in his finishing, but you could say that about Bruno and Cristiano as well, and we would have had a few more goals as well. I think you have to credit him massively.”

Rio Ferdinand says due credit needs to be given to Anthony Elanga for his displays this season. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Rio Ferdinand says due credit needs to be given to Anthony Elanga for his displays this season. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The Carrington product made his debut for the club last season, but it is under interim boss Ralf Rangnick that the forward has really made his name in Manchester. At the moment, he seems to be the German boss’ go-to man when the team needs an attacking impetus.

“Don’t stop running”

Despite the previous weekend’s 0-0 draw against Watford, Elanga was one of the brightest sparks on the pitch. Although guilty of failing to finish off his chances, the talent that the teenager possesses is clear for all to see.

Ferdinand said it is Elanga’s young age that makes him stand out in the United team, as he plays and runs and offers an intensity on the pitch that the former defender likes about the winger. Against Atletico as well, the Swede ran in behind the opposition to squeeze his goal past the Spanish side.

“What I like about him, and what I see constantly and more and more with him, is he plays and runs. There’s an intensity to his game that I really like, you always find it with young players who just get into the team, they just don’t stop running.”

Rio Ferdinand highlighted Elanga's intensity and willingness to run as his best traits. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Rio Ferdinand highlighted Elanga’s intensity and willingness to run as his best traits. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

United’s academy is famed for producing world-class stars for the future, and given Elanga’s meteoric rise of late, the player looks to be on the same path as many others. Hopefully, the winger is able to keep up his fantastic form until the end of the season to help his side end the campaign strongly.

Ferdinand highlighted his willingness to run and intensity on the pitch as his key traits, and this has been clear to see in Elanga if you watch him play. The Carrington starlet’s run in behind the Brentford defence opened the scoring for his side in an eventual 3-1 away win.

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Against Brighton at home, the winger zipped in to steal the ball off Lewis Dunk which resulted in the Seagulls player being sent off for a rash tackle, and the Red Devils sealed a 2-0 win to climb up the Premier League table.

Up next, Elanga and Co. face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in what will be a crucial test for the Swedish forward’s attacking abilities. City are not a team to break down easily, but we can hope that the same qualities that Ferdinand highlighted in Elanga are exactly what helps us beat the noisy neighbours on Sunday.

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