International breaks may not be enjoyed by many Manchester United fans, but for teenager Anthony Elanga, they are a platform he enjoys.
Elanga, 19, is still something of an unknown size to most fans who go to battle, but if he continues his impressive form at the international level, it may not be long before he breaks through to senior star status.
Of all the United players who have been away for the past week and a half, no one has shone as brightly as teenage forward Elanga, who has continued his red-hot form for Sweden’s U21 team.
The United striker made an impressive match last Friday night as his team defeated Bosnia, a number that has brought him to seven goals in seven appearances since making his debut back in June.
Elanga is already a talisman at the international youth level and also remains the attacking focal point for United at the U23 level, with consistent demonstrations that have elevated him above the other teenage talents who want to make their mark in the world’s most famous football academy.
Being a young attacking talent at United comes with huge expectations, goal clips and showboat rolls can go viral on a weekly basis and any teenager can risk growing an uncontrollable ego, even before playing for the first team, but after all the hype Elanga has been focused on the task.
The former Malmö academy star got a taste of senior action in the pre-season, and scored two fantastic goals for the senior team when Ole Gunnar Solskjær opted out of a rental offer to help his development at the club. He was even praised by talisman Bruno Fernandes for his professional attitude and maturity shown in first team training at such a young age.
In an ideal world, Elanga would have appeared regularly in the Carabao Cup and all European bands with dead rubber this season, but after a turbulent campaign, he has been limited to just one first-team excursion in defeat to West Ham when United crashed out of the EFL Cup at first obstacle.
But even with a lack of regular minutes, the 19-year-old has still shown constant signs of progress. His international form reflects how much he already learns from regular training sessions with some of the best strikers in the football world, while also scoring four impressive goals in seven Premier League 2 matches this season.
With increasing pressure on Solskjær, it seems very unlikely that Elanga will get another chance on the first team this season, unless it is in the FA Cup with his path to a regular role blocked by the presence of so many stars in front of him.
United’s left wing is without a doubt the strongest position in the club with Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial all having played there at some point this season already, so it’s no wonder he finds it hard to get a fight. .
It looks like his next step will be a loan spell in the January transfer window, and after the success of other academy stars in the Championship, it may well be a period in the second row that serves him well.
During the summer transfer window, almost half of the clubs in the Championship at one point asked for a loan to Elanga, he will not be short of any offer if United give him permission to leave the club on a temporary basis in the new year.
Elanga is without a doubt the most exciting youngster in United’s academy right now, but with his path to the first team blocked, his immediate future will probably have to lie elsewhere.