Premier League winger on Manchester United exit: “Erik ten Hag wasn’t the reason for my departure”

Former Manchester United winger Anthony Elanga talks about Erik ten Hag

Anthony Elanga has shed light on his departure from Manchester United, indicating that Erik ten Hag was not the driving force behind his decision to leave Old Trafford. Despite limited opportunities under Ten Hag’s management, Elanga harbours no ill feelings towards the Dutchman and emphasizes his desire to play regular football as the primary motivation for his move.

The 21-year-old winger, who joined United at the tender age of 13, experienced a breakthrough season under interim boss Ralf Rangnick during the 2021/22 campaign. However, his chances remained restricted under Ten Hag, prompting United to accept an offer from Nottingham Forest for his services last summer. In 55 appearances across all competitions, he scored four goals and got as many assists for United. He was Alejandro Garnacho before Alejandro Garnacho.

Elanga’s swift impact at Forest, including providing an assist for the winning goal against his former club United in December, showcased his talent and hunger for game time. He has five goals and six assists to boot in 25 appearances across all competitions for Forest this season. Elanga clarified that his departure stood driven by his desire to play regularly rather than any dissatisfaction with Ten Hag’s management.

Former Manchester United winger Anthony Elanga talks about Erik ten Hag.
Anthony Elanga is enjoying life at Nottingham Forest.

In a candid interview with Dutch outlet Soccer News via Manchester Evening News, here is what Elanga had to say:

“No, I wouldn’t say that [Ten Hag was the reason for his departure]. I just wanted to play, that was especially important to me.”

“I’m young and don’t want to sit on the bench all season, you know? When you are young you want to play, you want to make mistakes, you want to take risks,”

“Of course I also saw what he did at Ajax. But when you come to England, everything is different.”

“He has made several players better, Ryan Gravenberch for example, who now plays at Liverpool. But I just wanted to take my chance and go somewhere else and that was a good decision, because at Forest I’m having a good time.”

Rhythm is a dancer!

While acknowledging Ten Hag’s track record of nurturing talent, including notable names like Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt during his tenure at Ajax, Elanga emphasized the unique challenges and demands of English football.

Despite the allure of following in the footsteps of Ajax’s success stories, Elanga recognized the need to chart his own course and seek opportunities that aligned with his aspirations.

His move to Nottingham Forest proved to be a pivotal juncture in his career. Despite the initial adjustment period, Elanga wasted no time in making his mark at his new club. His impactful performances, including providing an assist against his former club United, underscored his talent and potential. More importantly, it reaffirmed his conviction that he had made the right decision in pursuit of regular playing time and personal growth.

Former Manchester United winger Anthony Elanga talks about Erik ten Hag.
If this kit reminds you of anyone but Anthony Elanga, you’re lying.

In many ways, Elanga’s journey reflects the evolving landscape of modern football, where young players are increasingly empowered to make decisions that shape their careers.

More Manchester United News-

While the allure of playing for a prestigious club like Manchester United is undeniable, the importance of regular game time and the opportunity to continue one’s development cannot be understated.