Ralph Rangnick says that he stopped Anthony Elanga from leaving Manchester United on loan in January. The teenager stepped off the bench to score a vital equaliser for the Premier League club in Wednesday's last-16 Champions League draw with Atletico Madrid.
Rangnick, who took over as interim Manchester United manager in early December, said the 19-year-old Elanga made an immediate impression on him.
"I had heard about his name before, but I didn't know him as a player because he didn't play for Manchester United," said Rangnick.
"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.
"The week after, he came on against Palace, I told him 'Listen, I want you to stay and see how you are doing in training and the games until the end of the closure of the transfer window'.
"Right now, he has shown what is possible in football with the right mentality going into games."
Anthony Elanga goal for Manchester United vs Atletico Madrid
What a time to get your ????? UEFA Champions League goal ?
— Watch the UCL on LiveScore ?? (@LiveScoreIE) February 23, 2022
Rangnick said after Wednesday's 1-1 draw that he wants to see other Manchester United players playing with the same enthusiasm as Elanga.
"Anthony, in all the games he has played so far, he just shows that he's playing with all the passion and all the fun, and all the joy," said Rangnick.
"He's fully aware of his strengths, assets, and weapons. He's always trying to show those weapons. This is what he did again today, not only the goal that he score - he another two or three great runs. Whenever he did that, you could see that Atletico had problems with this kind of approach."