Manchester United forward Anthony Elanga has described his reduced role in the team since Erik ten Hag’s arrival as “frustrating”.
Elanga was a regular presence in the starting XI under former interim boss Ralf Rangnick but Ten Hag has used him sparingly.
The Swede has had to be content with a place on the bench on most occasions with most of his appearances coming as an impact substitute or to see out the game.
Last season was Elanga’s breakout campaign at United. During a disastrous period for the 20-time English champions, the academy graduate played 27 games, with 16 of these coming as a starter.
The Sweden international had managed to score three goals during this time which had led to high hopes from fans and the club.
This season, the 20-year-old has made 24 appearances in total but only a meagre seven have been starts. He is yet to score and has two assists.
Elanga is currently out on international duty with Sweden. He was on the bench on Friday as Janne Andersson’s men were pummeled by Belgium at the Friends Arena.
Elanga spoke to reporters where he reflected on his situation at Old Trafford. He admitted that amidst his struggles for game time, talks have been held between himself, Ten Hag and even club officials over a resolution to the matter.
“It is frustrating. You want to play. It is important. But if you don’t play, it’s not up to me but up to the coach.
“There was talk about it [leaving United in January], but right now I’m focusing on United. We still have a big season ahead of us and need to finish it as well as possible.”
Elanga was questioned about whether Barcelona were the favourites to temporarily land his signature during the winter window.
“That was in January, now I can’t focus on it. The best I can do is focus on the rest of the season, then I get to talk to the club.
“I love the club, but it’s important for me to play. I’m still young. We have spoken to the club and they know what is required and I know what is required.”
On whether his lack of playing team is unsustainable, the forward pointed out, “I have spoken to Erik and it is private between the two of us. I know what he wants me to do and I can just keep training hard. When the opportunity comes, I just have to be ready to take it.”
Elanga further remarked that not only does he converse with the club about his personal issues, but also about what is going on around him and the team in general.
He said that he receives plenty of support and advice from Old Trafford officials.
Elanga is just the latest United man to cast doubts over his long-term future at the Theatre of Dreams after his national and club teammate Victor Lindelof recently did the same.
This summer was expected to largely be centered around incomings and new recruits but it’s shaping up to be significant with regard to outgoings as well.
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