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Jadon Sancho return to Man Utd ON as Ratcliffe man makes plans and Rio drools over ‘shaking and baking’ UCL display

Jadon Sancho's Champions League performance wowed Rio Ferdinand

Jadon Sancho's performance wowed Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand was left in total awe by the incredible performance from Jadon Sancho as Borussia Dortmund edged PSG 1-0 in their Champions League semi-final first leg and amid claims Manchester United now want to integrate him back into their squad.

The winger cut a miserable figure at Old Trafford after failing to win over Erik ten Hag, which resulted in a very high-profile falling out and then Sancho ultimately being excluded not just from the first-team squad but also all first-team facilities at Carrington. But having joined Borussia Dortmund on loan for the remainder of the season early in the January window, the 23-times capped England winger has very quickly reminded his fans what his game is all about.

Having scored three goals and weighed in with one assist from his 19 appearances so far going into Wednesday night’s game, there have been glimpses of Sancho’s old self.

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But finally, on the big occasion against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League semi-final first leg at the Signal Iduna Park, Sancho fizzed and crackled with a brilliant display as he stretched the French side’s defence time and again and pulled off a man of the match performance as BVB claimed a narrow advantage and leave them with one foot in the final.

Indeed, Sancho completed an astonishing 12 dribbles on the night – the most since Lionel Messi managed 11 against Manchester United back in 2008 – to leave PSG defender Nuno Mendes with nightmares for weeks to come.

It was a performance for the ages – and one which very quickly served as a reminder as to why United had been so desperate to secure the player’s services, having spent £73m on him back in summer 2021.

Rio Ferdinand left awestruck by Sancho display

Raving about his display after the game, Ferdinand beamed over what he just seen, telling TNT Sports that is what the player is all about.

“He’s shaking and baking top players here. He’s putting people on the floor, he’s making people dance,” Ferdinand said after the final whistle.

“It was a joke what he did today and we haven’t seen this, probably since he was at Dortmund before.

“He isn’t just a dribbler, he isn’t just somebody who runs and runs past people with pace. He’s a footballer who wants to come in and play one-twos, be part of the game and the tempo of that game.

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“What I saw today more than anything, which I haven’t seen and have been waiting to see, and all Manchester United fans have been waiting to see, I saw cage-football Sancho today.

“This is the kid that grew up in cages, with that arrogance and that little bit of swagger. I’ve been sitting here saying that it’s there but we haven’t seen it.”

Ferdinand urged Sancho to milk the praise for his display, adding: “He’s in a groove. Once someone gets in a groove, we’ve seen it with different sportsmen in different sports, football, especially, when they’re in the groove and the confidence is there, they churn these performances out.

“He will come off this pitch with a high. He will see people going on about him on social media and love it and rightly so. Lap it up.

Sancho value has soared after performance

On loan for the remainder of the season, Sancho’s value will have increased dramatically off the back of that display.

“I hate to go back to it but I want to know what happened at Manchester United. Why didn’t it go well there?” Ferdinand questioned.

“Was it because he was disheartened, wasn’t getting game-time, was it the size of the shirt, the weight of the shirt?

“Is it the manager’s fault for not getting the best out of him? The physicality of the Premier League, was that an issue?

“There’s so many things you look at and think: what could it be? Only Jadon can tell us that, but at the same time, you look at the way he played in the Champions League semi-final – you can’t devalue that.”

“What I would say for Jadon, for him and also Manchester United, there’s a plus point tonight: the value has gone back up again because I think most teams were probably looking to loan him or nick him for very cheap,’ he continued.

“But teams will be looking at that performance and going, ‘If I can get anywhere near that on a regular basis then I will have some of that!’.”

Jason Wilcox wants Sancho back at Man Utd

According to reports, United’s newly-appointed technical director Jason Wilcox had already advised the club before Sancho’s performance on Wednesday night that he thinks the player should be brought back into the squad this summer.

That, of course, would depend on a very public making up with Ten Hag or the removal of the Dutchman as manager – the latter of which most certainly cannot be ruled out.

And certainly after Wednesday’s match, Wilcox will know that his verdict has been vindicated and, just maybe, there can be a return route back for him at Old Trafford from this summer onwards.

Certainly performaces like that demand a re-think as another TNT Sports pundit, Owen Hargreaves, also waxed lyrical about his display.

“I could tell from his first few touches that he was confident and his body language suggested he believes,” Hargreaves said.

“He had a bit of arrogance about him. This is what makes a flair player really good.

“At Manchester United we didn’t really see him commit people, whether that was confidence or he wasn’t as fit but Jadon just answered a lot of questions today.

“You might criticise that he’s not as consistent, but that today, he outplayed every player on that pitch and some of those players are the best players in the world.

“That was really, really impressive tonight.”

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He added: “I’ve played in Champions League semi-finals and the shirt is heavy, it doesn’t matter which team you’re playing for.

“That deserves all praise. Any haters out there can hate and say he doesn’t do it consistently, but that today… he outperformed the best player in the world today in Kylian Mbappe.

“That deserves a lot of praise. I know he’s been in spaces where he hasn’t been at his best but that today was super impressive.”