Elanga plays down Cristiano Ronaldo’s criticism of younger players

UEFA Champions League Jadon Sancho of Manchester United celebrates with Cristiano Ronaldo
UEFA Champions League Jadon Sancho of Manchester United celebrates with Cristiano Ronaldo - IMAGO

Manchester United youngster Anthony Elanga has defended Cristiano Ronaldo on his criticism of younger players during his controversial interview with Piers Morgan.

In the interview on TalkTV, the Portugal international, among other things, complained that young players have it too easy and don’t listen to his advice.

But Elanga has publicly defended Ronaldo’s comments and reiterated that he and other United youngsters are committed. 

The 20-year-old Sweden international, who made his first-team debut for United in May 2021, also admitted that he can understand Ronaldo’s comments and knows that things are incredibly different to when the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was a youngster at Old Trafford. 

Speaking to Swedish outlet Aftonbladet via Sportsmail, Elanga said: “Cristiano talks about young players in general. We are a new generation. I am always 100 percent focused on what I am doing, but I can understand what he is saying.

“There are a lot of phones and a lot of technology. It’s quite easy for young players to get distracted and lose focus. I always focus 100 percent on my job and what I do.

“Young players at United are listening, but I can understand what he is saying.”

He added: “It is quite difficult. Everyone has their phones, and I have friends in Manchester and in Sweden who want to find out what has happened. I don’t know that myself. I only know what others have heard. Hopefully, I will find out the truth.

“I try to switch off. But everyone is curious. My family is almost the worst. They always want to know. That’s how it is. I might be able to say more after I get back to the club team and find out what actually happened.’

The youngster was also asked about Ronaldo’s impact at Old Trafford.

“He has helped me a lot not only on the pitch but off it as well,” he said.

“He is an inspiration, not only to me but to all the young players at United. Sometimes it’s just me and him at the gym.”

“When I’m with him, he hasn’t changed. He is still Cristiano Ronaldo to me. He has helped me a lot.”