Despite paying £85.5 million for Antony and having Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford back in form, Ten Hag believed that Elanga was too crucial to allow on a loan, despite a request from Leicester.
The winger’s quality and development have been recognised by his placement on the 40-player shortlist for Tuttosport’s renowned Golden Boy award. Elanga has played in all but one of Ten Hag’s eight games in charge of United.
Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero, Paul Pogba, Raheem Sterling, and Erling Haaland are just a few of the past winners. Of the 19 people to receive the award, eight have played for Manchester teams, either United or City.
Manchester United News: Who else is on the shortlist?
Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho of Liverpool, Jude Bellingham of England and Borussia Dortmund, and Marquinhos of Arsenal are also on the shortlist, which will be downsized to 20 names next month.
Former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave Elanga his United debut. Still, it was interim manager Ralf Rangnick who gave the 21-year-old a consistent run in the lineup after taking over from the Norwegian.
Like Ten Hag, Rangnick was so taken aback by Elanga that he refused to let him go out on loan. That was the original idea to give the winger more opportunities to play and improve.
Rangnick spent a good deal of his first few days in command at United examining films of his new players in action and acclimating himself.
He was particularly drawn to one player, Elanga, who impressed him so much. Rangnick told the club to stop considering loaning him out.
What did Rangnick say?
He showed up from the first day of my first training session, said Rangnick. “I had heard of him previously. I watched videos of him in my hotel room on YouTube, and I thought, “This child is really good. He was almost about to leave on loan. I told him, “You won’t leave; stay here,” and he has grown in training.
Despite failing to score this season, Elanga came back with three goals and two assists, and Ten Hag was impressed.
What did Elanga say?
We put in a lot of effort during the preseason and bought into the way the coach wanted us to play, according to Elanga. “If I had to single out one change, it would be the attitude. Our outlook has dramatically improved.
We have greater clarity and know what to do. Our team plays together. New strategies and a new system have been incredibly beneficial, and I’m really looking forward to working with him this season to develop all facets of my game.
“Good competitiveness within the squad is essential. I play on the left, while Antony plays on the right. It’s great. We all have a lot of games this year, and we’re young.