Anthony Elding's career in English football looked to be losing momentum, but since a move to Hungary the 27-year-old has become something of a superstar after making a blinding start at Ferencvárosi TC.
Six goals in his first seven matches for the club – none of them from more than a couple of metres out until his long-range strike at MTK Budapest on Saturday – have helped Ferencváros make an unbeaten start to 2010 and have endeared him to supporters in Budapest. "My key attributes are scoring goals and movement," he said. "I always give 100%, so determination might be a strength too. It's great to be scoring goals and to be popular with the fans, but football is a team sport; it's not about individuals."
Once a trainee at Nottingham Forest FC, Elding won promotion to the fourth tier of the English football league with his local club, Boston United FC, early in his career. He has been in pretty much constant motion for a decade, thriving with Stevenage Borough FC and Stockport County FC, but notably failing to impress when signed by Leeds United AFC in 2008, with a subsequent spell at Crewe Alexandra FC also not amounting to much.
However, joining English manager Craig Short at Ferencváros, who have a close relationship with the former defender's old club Sheffield United FC, has seen Elding find his footballing mojo again. "Craig Short is definitely the best manager I've worked with during my career," said the striker. "He is a very straight person; if you're honest with him, he is honest with you. That is the way it works."
That a player who never played higher than the third level of English football should be contemplating Europe is a sign of how travel has broadened Elding's mind, but he feels he may have benefited a little from the differences between the Hungarian and English styles. "Hungarian players are very skilful, like our captain Péter Lipcsei; he controls and passes the ball extremely well," said Elding. "However, English football is physically stronger and faster; players run a lot more than they do in Hungary."
Ferencváros are still in mid-table, but with results improving, they have not abandoned hope of European football next season. "Our aim is to reach a European cup, but it seems to be more and more difficult this season," conceded Elding. "We will obviously make every effort to play at least in the UEFA Europa League, if not this autumn then next year. In the long term, Ferencváros have to be involved in European football; no doubt about that."