England will miss out on next Thierry Henry to Sweden if Southgate doesn't move fast for Man Utd star Anthony Elanga

GARETH SOUTHGATE has less than two weeks to make a grab for Anthony Elanga.

If the Three Lions head coach doesn’t make his pitch fast then he will almost certainly lose the new Thierry Henry of English football to Sweden.

Gary Neville has already compared the 19-year-old to the French icon.

Last year his Manchester United under-23 boss Neil Wood couldn’t disagree in an interview with a Swedish newspaper that, yes, Elanga had a similar attacking DNA to Henry.

Before that Ralf Rangnick’s predecessor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted there were 'no words' to describe Elanga’s potential.

Had Solskjaer actually chosen to act he might even still be manager of United right now.

It was he, after all, who gave him his first two appearances at the end of last season.

In the second of them the whizkid scored the opener in a 2-1 win at Wolves.

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But come the new campaign he allowed him just the last 17 minutes of the 1-0 Carabao Cup defeat by West Ham on September 22.

True enough, it could be argued that Solskjaer was merely trying to protect him.

Rangnick wasn’t so cautious. In fact he couldn’t wait to pick Elanga.

The German was appointed as interim boss on December 2 and three days later there was Elanga coming off the bench in the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Rangnick has now been in charge for 16 games and Elanga has featured in 13 of them.

Were anyone doubtful about those comparisons to Henry they only needed to look at the finish against Atletico Madrid that would have made the Arsenal legend proud.

He secured the Champions League result United never looked like getting by moving from the right on to Bruno Fernandes’ flick.

Last Sunday he came from the left, again onto the Portuguese playmaker’s pass, to clinch a 4-2 win at Elland Road.

Right now he is being used mainly as a substitute but a star has very definitely been born at the Theatre of Dreams and Southgate’s staff have, as SunSport revealed, been tracking him.

But if the England supremo is to act he may have less than a fortnight to do so.

Elanga was born in the Swedish city of Malmo and has already been capped 16 times at under-age level for the country.

He also qualifies to play for Cameroon – his dad Joseph was a left-back at France ’98 with the Lions.

United signed him as a 12-year-old after he moved to Manchester and played for Tameside club Hattersley having started out at Malmo.

Swedish national or not, he has lived in England long enough to be eligible for the Three Lions.

And Southgate and his team, surely, have known about him long enough.

He's got an X factor

After all Solskjaer lauded last season’s Jimmy Murphy award winner of young United player of the year in public, saying: "He's got an X factor.

“Some attributes, it's not like a gift, but he's got the acceleration, pace, speed, that's a given for wingers and he's got qualities I like.

"He's a goals-scoring winger, he's confident, he likes to beat men, right foot, left foot, he's got a great attitude.

“His appetite and hunger to improve… when he's been training with us, he's not been fazed by it, he's confident."

The same va-va voom, indeed, that marked out Henry as a superstar when he was making TV commercials for French can company Renault.

Sweden coach Janne Andersson has also been tracking him and he has an agent in the Old Trafford camp.

Central defender Victor Lindelof has been in his ear about playing for the Blue and Yellow for months.

Sweden play the Czech Republic on March 24 in a World Cup play-off clash.

Andersson is scheduled to name his squad ten days before that and there is now every chance Elanga will be asked to join it.

If his response is 'Ja, tak' then that might be gone in 60 seconds.

England, meanwhile, have friendlies with Switzerland on March 26 and Ivory Coast five days later.

They would be perfect to blood Elanga and get him into the den of the Three Lions as opposed to that of Cameroon or the country of his birth.

Everything points to the youngster becoming the next great talent to have emerged from the United academy.

He is making himself the name on the lips of every United fan and he could become a household name for England if he keeps revving it up.

But if Southgate wants to try to help make that happen he has to step on the gas fast or risk losing him.

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