Anthony Elanga speaks to MUTV at a Manchester United Foundation event.

Elanga learns from tournament experience

Thursday 20 June 2019 16:30

Anthony Elanga finished last season strongly in Manchester United's Academy and believes the experience he picked up while representing Sweden in the Under-17 European Championship finals will stand him in good stead when he returns to the Aon Training Complex.

The 17-year-old was in top form during the tournament in Ireland, scoring twice against France and coming up against United team-mate Teden Mengi in the group stages.

It came on the back of making an impressive 22 appearances for the Reds as a first-year scholar, with his four goals including a superb solo effort against Newcastle United, and he has thanked the Under-18s' head coach Neil Ryan for the advice and support he received over the course of the campaign.

Watch Anthony Elanga speaking to MUTV at a recent Manchester United Foundation event in Wythenshawe.

"It is one of the best tournaments I’ve been to," he told us. "It’s always an honour representing my country and, although we didn’t get the results we wanted, scoring two goals against France made it even more special for me.

"I played up front for Sweden as they gave me something of a free role. It made me feel really happy, scoring those two goals, and I came up against Teden in the last game. Although we lost, we all played well in the three matches and the one against England was even more special because it was against my mates and it was a really good game.

"So it was a nice way to end the season, against my mate Teden. It was very competitive and one-on-one!

Elanga was born in Hyllie in Sweden as his father, Joseph, was a professional footballer with Malmo and also represented Cameroon at the 1998 World Cup finals.

"My dad used to play football and would always give me advice," he added. "He wanted me to become a better person on and off the pitch and always act professionally, wherever I am, because people look at you and judge you. So you have to be focused.

"Neil Ryan has helped me a lot since I was in the Under-16s. He has given me good advice and improved me as an overall player, not only on the pitch, he’s helped me mentally and how to act off the pitch as well.

Anthony Elanga takes on the Derby defence in an Under-18s game last season.

"Next season is going to be great and I’m really looking forward to it. There are loads of opportunities, as you’ve seen for the likes of Mason [Greenwood] and Chongy [Tahith Chong]. So you’ve got to keep focused, know what you want in life and get it. Believe – it’s what I tell myself every day. Anything is possible, I’ve got to just keep working hard."

In addition to Elanga and Mengi, Charlie McCann was also involved in the Under-17 European Championship, with hosts Ireland.

"It was good experience to play international football," the midfielder told us. "It’s different to club football so you get new experiences and learn lots.

Charlie McCann played for the host nation at the Under-17 European Championship.

"Tournament football is not like when you’re playing for your club. You learn how to play a different way almost, and it probably teaches you how to win games in a different way, when you might not be playing at your best but are still able to get the points." 

United’s youngsters continue to learn some valuable lessons with their countries this summer. Dean Henderson is currently keeping goal for England in the Under-21 European Championship and saved a penalty in an unfortunate 2-1 defeat against France in the team’s opening fixture.

Dylan Levitt has broken into the senior Wales squad after impressing coach Ryan Giggs at a training camp and Lee O'Connor was a key part of the Republic of Ireland side that finished fourth at the Toulon Tournament last week, after losing to Brazil in the semi-finals.

Teenage midfielder Arnau Puigmal (Spain) and goalkeepers Matej Kovar and Ondrej Mastny (both Czech Republic) have also received call-ups at their respective age levels recently.

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