LAnthony Elanga has discussed how his Manchester United mentor Cristiano Ronaldo has aided his development. Elanga is having a breakout season at Old Trafford, and the academy graduate marked his progress by making his Sweden debut on Thursday night.
Despite the high stakes, Elanga came off the bench for the final five minutes of extra time as Sweden moved closer to World Cup qualification. Robin Quaison’s 110th-minute winner put the game out of reach, setting up a play-off showdown with Poland.
The winner of that game will advance to the Qatar 2022 finals. And after scoring eight goals in 20 appearances for United this season, Elanga may have a chance to win his second cap in that match. But, as a teammate, how much of an influence has Ronaldo had on him?
“It’s really good [to have Ronaldo as a mentor] because I go to training quite early and see him there,” Elanga said in an interview with United’s official website. We talk about the game or training if we had one the day before.
“Not only because of what he does on the pitch, but also because of what he does off the pitch, he’s a really good person to have around the building.” We [young players] can go to him for help if we need it, so he’s a great person to be around.
“It all starts on the practice field.” Observing and learning from the most experienced players. Training with them on a daily basis is extremely beneficial to me.
“Not just from a technical standpoint, but also from a tactical standpoint, what they do when they lose possession.” When I’m playing, I prefer to talk to the older men for tips, and it really helps me out.”