Jadon Sancho’s latest setback has been systematic of his debut season at Manchester United after failing to reach the levels he produced on a consistent basis for Borussia Dortmund
Jadon Sancho’s debut season at Manchester United is drawing to a fittingly unhappy conclusion.
The England winger has been struggling with illness after being diagnosed with tonsillitis and is set to miss United’s trip to the south coast to face Brighton this weekend and potentially their Premier League finale against Crystal Palace.
Ralf Rangnick revealed Sancho was in hospital for treatment and is now recovering from home. He said: “If [Sancho manages to return] then maybe in the last game. I was in contact with him this afternoon. He was in hospital until this morning so he only returned back home today. He still doesn’t feel well so, for sure, not [for Brighton].”
It’s been a season to forget for the forward, like it has been for the majority of United’s squad. The Red Devils’ pursuit of the 22-year-old which lasted two summers meant there was plenty of expectation on his shoulders after arriving from Borussia Dortmund for £73million. But it’s not quite gone according to plan.
Sancho didn’t score or register an assist in his first 14 appearances for United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and was coming off the bench the majority of the time. The Norwegian even considered moving him to a wing-back position to try and get a tune out of him before eventually deciding against it.
Sancho was included in Gareth Southgate’s England squad in October’s World Cup qualifiers but the Three Lions boss admitted he didn’t deserve a call-up despite picking him.
The former Manchester City youngster would score in back-to-back games for United in November with important strikes against Villarreal and Chelsea hinting there were signs of life, but he wasn’t able to build on it.
Ralf Rangnick came through the door in the New Year and rekindling his German routes seemed to get Sancho going, however, with three goals and three assists across nine games in February and March. It wasn’t quite the player Dortmund saw week in, week out at Signal Iduna Park, but at least he was going in the right direction.
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That momentum would stall, however, with no goal involvements in his last six matches missing out on another England call-up in March.
Sancho would have been hoping to finish the season on a high and carry that over to next season, especially after the appointment of Erik ten Hag but it appears he won’t get that chance with the winger likely to miss the rest of the campaign through illness.
This latest setback has been systematic of his debut season at the club and while there is optimism that Ten Hag can bring the best out of him, there is criticism that his move to Old Trafford was a mistake right from the get-go.
Lothar Matthaus claimed Sancho’s arrival has been overshadowed by Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to the club admitting the transfer is at real risk of backfiring.
The German legend told Sky Sports on November 4, the same day Sancho was left out of the latest England squad : “You see the players who are playing in Man United. You have [Marcus] Rashford, you have Ronaldo.
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“This means you have two from three and then you have another four players who can play in the third position and one of these three or four players is Sancho.
“I don’t know how he is training at Man United, he has to work very hard to make this step in the first XI and now he’s far away from the first XI.”
Asked whether Sancho made a poor judgment call by leaving Dortmund for United, Matthaus added: “When I see how many minutes he was playing this season or which games he was playing then I think it was a mistake. Maybe he has more money but he has less games.”
Sancho scored 50 times and racked up 64 assists during his impressive stint with the Black and Yellows, so his lack of goal involvements this season is deeply concerning no matter what way you look at it and the jury is very much still out on if he can rediscover that level of form.