Ole Gunnar Solskjaer glanced at his bench at Manchester United last week and decided to stay rather than spin for much of the Europa League final.

With Anthony Martial injured, there was no recognized goalscorer to fall back on if the starters fell short.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened as Marcus Rashford is struggling and Amad Diallo and Dan James are the only offensive players on a big bench.

Two goalkeepers, two midfielders and four defenders on a bench of 12 speak volumes. United just didn’t have enough reserves to change the game.

Some believe Amad could have made a difference. But what United needed was a more dominant attacker to replace Rashford. And that player was Anthony Elanga.

(Photo by Ash Donelon / Manchester United via Getty Images)

The 19-year-old has proven against the wolves that he can make a difference in the last third.

His movement and skill caused problems on the final day of the Premier League. While his target was a wonderful example of a center-forward game, it would be a header that Edinson Cavani would be proud of.

Elanga was overlooked for the final. But United should have opted for a wild card instead of four defenders (even if one of them was the previously injured Harry Maguire).

If the United skipper wasn’t fit enough to play, his spot should have been given to someone who could make a real difference.

A risk worth taking

Elanga would have been a better option to destroy a stubborn Villareal defense line. He would surely have given them more to think about.

The Swede has scored regularly for United’s U18 and U23-year-olds and only marked his second appearance in the senior team with a nice goal.

Solskjaer needed something different on Wednesday. That is why a bank is so important.

If Sir Alex Ferguson hadn’t attacked Federico Macheda when few knew his name, United would have one less title in the Premier League.

If you’re good enough at United, you’re old enough. A fresh and confident Elanga could have offered more than a tired and injured Marcus Rashford.

It’s versatile enough to have a broad or central impact. And United didn’t create enough opportunities. Elanga’s runs may have made more room for others and made a real difference in a game United look back with regret.

Do you have something to tell us about this article?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here