Jadon Sancho hasn’t enjoyed a great start to life at Old Trafford. In six games so far for Manchester United, the youngster has failed to register a single goal or assist and seems to be struggling to adapt.
However, he started the season slowly last year with Borussia Dortmund before exploding into action, eventually securing double figures in goals and assists respectively for the third consecutive campaign.
Such is the nature of football, however, his poor start to the season has seen him heavily criticised – with his lofty price tag often at the heart of such debate – and in a recent interview, national team boss Gareth Southgate did little to downplay the criticism. However, he did offer his support to the player.
“Does he deserve to be in [the England squad] on these performances over the last few weeks? Well, probably not,” Southgate said when discussing Sancho’s involvement with the Three Lions. “But I think we feel we have invested in Jadon over a period of time, we believe he can get to a high level.
“I would like some time with him to chat with him and help that process that’s going on at United as well and I think for him to feel that we have belief in him at this point is a good message.
“We try to individually do the right thing at the right time, send the right message and sometimes the right message is to leave a player out and maybe they respond and that’s the right thing but we feel with Jadon at this time it is important for us to keep him with us.”
Sancho seems to have responded well to this show of support, starting for England against Andorra on Saturday night where he registered two assists and was a constant threat.
The confidence that Sancho will gain from such a good performance will hopefully be the spark that ignites his United career into life, but there is a major problem that his performance presents.
Sancho played on the left wing for England against Andorra, and one thing United definitely don’t need is another left winger, especially with Marcus Rashford working his way back into contention.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer bought Sancho to solve the creativity issue down the right-hand side, with the position not really being addressed since Antonio Valencia was converted into a right-back under Louis van Gaal.
But, with some of Sancho’s best performances at Dortmund coming from the left-hand side, are United just experiencing another case of shoving square pegs into round holes?
With Rashford returning to full fitness, Sancho’s only real chance of regular football will be to make the right-wing spot his own, meaning he’ll need to strike up a partnership with first-choice right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Solskjaer has now got a huge problem that he needs to solve. Sancho’s best performances in a United shirt have come from the left-hand side and he’s now produced his best display of the season from that very same position.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely problem to have, but it’s still a problem nonetheless, and it’s decisions like these that will likely determine whether Solskjaer is deemed a success at Old Trafford or not.