Ashley Young has revealed that it was a “no-brainer” to leave Manchester United for Inter Milan in January.
Young was the captain at Old Trafford, but his place in the starting lineup wasn’t guaranteed. Therefore, he decided to move on for a fresh challenge in Serie A.
The wing-back made 18 appearances in Serie A after joining Inter, as they finished as runners up to Juventus.
Young has also played three times in the Europa League for his new club – a competition in which he could feasibly face his old side in the final.
Now, the 35-year-old – who contributed four league goals and four assists for Inter in 2020 – has revealed more behind his decision to leave Man Utd.
Young told UEFA.com: “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.
“For me, age is nothing but a number. 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.
“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!”
YOUNG COMPARES CONTE SYSTEM
The move to Inter gave Young the chance to work under Antonio Conte – a coach he came up against in the Premier League when the tactician was in charge of Chelsea.
Like when he was at Stamford Bridge, Conte has used a back three at Inter. And that shape has allowed Young to push forwards more as a wing-back than when he was at United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Speaking of Conte, Young added: “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.
“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 licence to get forward more than staying back.
“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 [the Europa League], it’ll be hard work definitely paying off.”