Ashley Young: “When The Chance Came To Join Inter It Was A No-Brainer”

Ashley Young: “When The Chance Came To Join Inter It Was A No-Brainer”
August 15, 2020 16:00
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Inter wing back Ashley Young discussed the Nerazzurri’s Europa League semifinals against Shakhtar Donetsk and his experiences in Milan with the club in an interview on UEFA’s website earlier today.

First, he commented on what kind of game he expects against the attacking Ukrainian side.

“If pushed, you tend not to want to play teams that just sit back and defend. You want to play teams that like attacking football, that basically you go toe-to-toe with, and whoever plays well on that day comes out on top.

“I think it’s going to be a very good game. We’ve seen videos of them, we saw them against Basel the other day, and they are a good team. They wouldn’t be in the semi-final if they weren’t.

“So, everyone is relishing the opportunity to play against them, to test ourselves again. We’ll see what happens come the end of the 90 minutes.”

The Englishman didn’t think about facing his former club Manchester United in the final.

“No. Obviously, that’s where we want to get to, the final, but we’re not thinking about any opponent or who we’re going to play against.

“Our concentration is on Shakhtar, that’s the next game. That’s what we’re thinking about, that’s where all our focus is.”

Young touched on why he chose to leave England to join the Nerazzurri, after previously spending his whole career in the Premier League.

“Obviously being in England all my life, it was a totally different change, but it was an experience that I jumped at. It was an opportunity for me to go and play regularly.

“I spoke to Ole and he said that I wasn’t going to play as much as I wanted to, and when you’re coming towards the end of your career you want to be playing as much as you can. I’m as fit as anyone, and I feel like I’ve still got a lot to give.”

The 35-year-old English described the idea of joining Inter as a ‘no-brainer’ and that coach Antonio Conte was a decisive factor in the decision.

“For me, age is nothing but a number. Ole said that he was going to bring younger players through and, and that I wasn’t going to have as many opportunities. When the opportunity arose to come to Inter, it was a no-brainer for me.

“I was like, ‘Get me on the plane, get me out there. Get me signed on the dotted line.’ I was just speaking to the manager and players that were here that I knew as well.

“It was a fantastic opportunity, a club that’s massive worldwide, one of the biggest teams in world football. And I wanted to be part of what the manager had spoken to me about, and obviously speaking to club officials higher up as well, the owners, it was an opportunity that I couldn’t miss.”

Young didn’t have much to complain about whilst living in Milan, instead finding happiness and regular playing time, as well as a new and exciting culture.

“I don’t think it’s been challenging. I’m one of those people that can adapt to new styles, different ways of life. Like I said, it was going to be a totally new experience for me, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

“Now I’m playing with a smile on my face, I’m enjoying the way things are going at the club. I think the only thing that I’m missing from back home is probably Mum’s cooking, whereas when I was at Manchester, she used to be able to send me food, so that’s the only difference.

“But the way of life out in Milan is unbelievable, the people, the food is exceptional. So I’m not complaining!”

He touched on what coach Antonio Conte has asked of the squad this season.

“He demands everything, not just in matches, in training as well. You can tell he’s a winner. He wants to win, and he demands that from all the players, a winning mentality.

“Everyone’s got that. Obviously, it’s more of a tactical league than I’ve been used to, but it’s one of those things you have to adapt to pretty quickly and I felt I have adapted to that.”

Young spoke about his new position as a wing back, rather than just a full back.

“Playing the wing-back position, there’s a lot of running to do, getting forward, defending. But as the way that we play, you’re more on the front foot and playing as an attacker, and it’s felt like a new lease of life being able to get on the scoresheet and get assists.

“I’m used to that, but when I was back at United, I was more of an out-and-out defender, having to defend more. When you’re here, you’ve got a license to get forward more than staying back.”

The Englishman commented on how Conte gets involved in a training exercise called ‘a torello’, meaning keep away.

“That’s just something we do, ‘a torello’ that we do before sessions. And the manager, in these last few weeks has been getting involved. It’s good to see.

“It’s actually nice when we keep him in the middle, keep him running about, so then he doesn’t shout as much after training. But he tends to get out of the middle quite often. It’s just one of those things, you see that the team spirit we’ve got here is unbelievable. Everybody’s fighting for each other, everybody wants to win.”

Finally, Young spoke about the squad’s mentality and relationship, and how the winning mentality is clearly present.

“And that’s not just in games, that’s in training as well. There are arguments, there’s fights, and when you’ve got that off the pitch and take that onto the pitch, everyone fights for each other, and that’s why I’m glad that I’m a part of that.

“Everybody’s got that winning mentality. Everyone’s smiling, everyone’s happy. It’s obviously hard work, but it’s work that you enjoy doing when things pay off, and if we get to the final in this competition, it’ll be hard work definitely paying off.”

Apollo Heyes
By Apollo Heyes

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