Anthony Elanga opens up on Man Utd exit after wish for first-team chances | Football

Elanga joined Forest in a £15m deal last summer (Picture: Getty)

Anthony Elanga was looking forward to receiving first-team chances under Eik ten Hag at Manchester United but was left needing a fresh start at Nottingham Forest.

The Sweden international broke into the United first-team under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, scoring a memorable Champions League goal against Atletico Madrid in the 2021-22 season where he made 26 appearances, 16 of those coming from the start.

Opportunities dried up under ten Hag following the Dutchman’s arrival in Manchester in 2022, starting just five league matches last term, all of those coming within the first three months of the season.

Ten Hag arrived in Manchester with a reputation for developing youth talent with teenagers Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt key figures in his Ajax side that reached the Champions League semi-final in 2019.

Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo have shone under the Dutchman while Elanga was also hopeful of pushing on under his guidance at Old Trafford.

The 21-year-old is now enjoying a fine season at Forest, admitting his lack of chances in Manchester meant he had no choice but to seek a fresh challenge.

‘It was difficult [to leave] but it was needed because I wanted to play and I didn’t want to spend another season just playing ten minutes or not playing for ten games,’ Elanga told The Times.

Anthony Elanga

Elanga got limited opportunities under ten Hag (Picture: Getty)

‘I wanted a fresh start but I knew it wouldn’t be easy leaving a club that I had been at for nine years.’

He continued: ‘Sometimes football is like that, it might not always work somewhere,” Elanga says. “I had seen what he did at Ajax so I was looking forward to it but I just didn’t get the opportunities.’

Elanga’s former youth teammate Mainoo has excelled in the first-team picture, starting the last nine league games and quickly becoming one of his side’s most important operators in midfield.

Elanga said of Mainoo: ‘He’s an amazing player and a top person and I just want him to keep doing what he’s doing because the sky’s the limit for him.

‘I’m not surprised at all. I saw it when I was playing with him in the academy for the Under-19s Youth League.

‘Those that have the real eye, they’ll know he plays the same as he did in the academy. Obviously he’s had to adapt but he still plays the same playing style.’


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