Elanga and Laird keen to push on
Manchester United youngsters Anthony Elanga and Ethan Laird have stressed they are relishing the current opportunities given to them by new manager Erik ten Hag.
The pair, who both featured for 45 minutes during our most recent pre-season triumph over Melbourne Victory, are keen on impressing Ten Hag during Tour 2022, with many other of our Academy graduates also out to seize the moment.
Elanga, who enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2021/22, said he is enjoying the chance to represent his boyhood club on a global scale, especially at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground.
"It was a great crowd," began the 20-year-old.
"From the warm-up, we could tell that they were on it. We conceded early on and it’s was important to get the two goals and settle the game. In the second half [after 10 substitutions], the second team did amazing and controlled the game. I’m really happy."
With our Dutch boss readily mixing both senior and youth members of his squad so far, the Sweden international has emphasised the battle to keep your shirt has never been more apparent than it is right now.
"It’s healthy competition," added the forward, who started on the wing. "It’s important to have competition like that in training because, if someone starts ahead of you in games, then it will motivate you to work even harder in training to try to take their position in a game. It’s always important to have competition in the team."
Laird spent all of last season on loan away from Old Trafford, enjoying fruitful spells with both Swansea City and Bournemouth. The latter were, of course, promoted to the Premier League under Scott Parker.
Putting in a strong display at right-back, the 20-year-old defender is again relishing the chance to represent his boyhood club.
"It was good," he said. "It’s always nice to be on the pitch as we’re footballers and we love playing football.
"We keep building, keep building our fitness and it’s a good result. I’m happy with it.”
Laird has also admitted acclimatising to performing in different parts of the world is part and parcel of the experience.
"The main thing was the time difference and plane journeys, jet-lag, just getting yourself ready again," added the youngster.
"That’s part of our preparations and that’s what we have to do as professionals. It’s something we have to deal with and we prepared well, we delivered well on the stuff we worked on. I think we were solid today."