'It was a pleasure to share the same pitch'
Anthony Elanga was delighted to share in a small piece of Manchester United history on Sunday, as Marcus Rashford netted his 100th goal for the club.
Rashford headed home what turned out to be the matchwinning goal against West Ham United, becoming only the 22nd Red to reach a century and the first since all-time leading scorer Wayne Rooney back in 2009.
As an Academy graduate himself, Elanga is aware of just what the achievement means and he hopes to help Marcus hit further landmarks in the coming months and years.
“It was a pleasure to share the same pitch with him when he did it,” Elanga told us the day after the game.
“I was so over the moon for him and the fact he did it the day before his birthday as well, makes it even more special.
“It just shows that if you put in the hard work, you’re capable of reaching the numbers and he’s been playing with the first team for a long, long time.
“I’m happy for him and hopefully he can reach even higher numbers and I can be a part of what he does.”
As well as being a team-mate, Anthony counts Marcus as a close friend and, as the club mark 85 years of constant Academy presence in our matchday squads, he is thankful to our no.10 and Jesse Lingard – now at Nottingham Forest – for showing him the ropes and passing on their experience and knowledge.
“Yeah, he [Marcus] is my guy. I like to chill with him, he’s a really nice person off the pitch as well. He’s funny and he helps me a lot,” he added.
“When I first came into the Academy, him and Jesse [Lingard] helped me, because they’ve been where I’ve been and they’ve worked their way up, so it’s a pleasure to have [him] giving me advice and speaking to me.”
United’s decades-long run with a homegrown product in the side shows no sign of abating and Elanga, who has been with the club since he was 12 years old, is bursting with pride to play a role in our story.
“I’m really happy and proud to be a part of it," he added. "Not just me but with the likes of Scott [McTominay], [Alejandro] Garnacho recently, Marcus.
“[There are] so many more and hopefully United can just carry this on and bring even more players through.”