Elanga eager to keep learning
Anthony Elanga feels he can still learn from Manchester United’s senior professionals, as he looks to continue his progress under Erik ten Hag.
With the World Cup still in full swing, the Reds have taken a youthful squad out to Spain for the winter training camp and they will surely benefit from spending time with our older guard.
Elanga, who has made 42 appearances for United’s first team, is one of the more experienced players out in Andalusia, but the 20-year-old was keen to point out that, although he has a lot of minutes under his belt, he’s still just at the start of his journey…
Anthony, the weather conditions in Spain are very variable at the moment but how has the camp been for you so far?
“It’s been good, we’re coping and training well. I feel like these training camps are important, not just to gain fitness and stuff like that but for team bonding and getting to know the younger players coming up as well and getting the younger players and the older players connecting. I feel like it’s important. Obviously we’ve got a couple of important games coming in two weeks so we’ve got to mentally prepare ourselves and physically be ready for it.”
We spoke to Mark Dempsey the other day and he was talking about the experienced players and you probably are one of those now. Are you helping the younger players and giving them advice, because you were also in that position two or three years ago?
“Yeah, of course, but it’s not just me giving them advice. They’re giving me advice as well and helping me, because I’m still young myself and I can always get better and better. I feel like they’re really vocal, the younger players, which is good. They’ve all impressed me and I’ve played with them all myself, so I know what they can do. They’ve impressed me a lot.”
It was good to see a lot of players from last season's FA Youth Cup-winning side get on in the second half against Cadiz…
“Yeah, the likes of Kobbie Mainoo, who scored as well, Charlie McNeill, all of them. Like I told you myself, I’ve played with them before so I know what they’re capable of and I know what they’re about and they did really well.”
With this winter break in general, you played a few friendlies for Sweden but how nice was it to have a bit of a break before coming here? Were you ready to get back to work?
“Yeah, it’s a bit unusual actually because I’m not really used to having a break in the middle of the season, but it was good to get away with Sweden for those two games and we won the two games [against Mexico and Algeria]. Obviously that little break I had was good as well, and I went to India as well on a little break with United so it was good. I was all over and everywhere.”
The first friendly against Cadiz didn’t go our way, but what lessons have the team learned ahead of the Betis game on Saturday and obviously the games to come as well?
“We haven’t all played together, it was Brandon Williams’s first game [back after injury] as well so we’re all trying to get to know each other. We learned a lot from that game and now it’s all about using what we’ve learned and putting it to the test on Saturday against Betis.”
Real Betis v United will be broadcast live on MUTV*, with coverage starting at 16:30 GMT, half an hour before the 17:00 GMT kick-off. You can also watch match reaction, post-match interviews and plenty more exclusive content live on MUTV - now available in the United App.
In addition to live coverage, team news, live match updates and images will be available in our app on ManUtd.com in the build-up to the game and after the full-time whistle.
*Live MUTV coverage will not be available in Spain due to broadcasting restrictions.