Owen Hargreaves has said that Manchester United need to play Jadon Sancho more often, following his standout Champions League display against Villarreal.
The 21-year-old arrived from Borussia Dortmund in the summer for £73million, but has struggled to make an impact. While Tuesday’s outing was his 15th of the campaign, he has not yet proven to be a crucial player in the team.
Indeed, former United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faced criticism for not playing his marquee new signing enough.
Nevertheless, Solskjaer’s interim successor, Michael Carrick, played Sancho from the start against Villarreal, his first game in charge.
The Spanish hosts dominated and so the England international did not have many chances for most of the game. However, he came alive at the crucial moments to net a fine goal – his first for United – to make it 2-0 late on.
According to former United midfielder Hargreaves, Sancho needs to play more often. Furthermore, he claimed that Carrick or the club’s next manager need to let the forward replicate a link-up which served him so well at Dortmund.
“They need a partnership between him and [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka whether on the inside or out,” Hargreaves claimed.
“The link-up he had at Dortmund with [Achraf] Hakimi and [Erling] Haaland in a triangle was unplayable.
“Now he needs the partners to play behind him and the one who’s going to play one-twos.”
Sancho’s form at Dortmund was what attracted United to his services. In the 2019/20 season, he netted 20 goals and assisted 20 others in 44 games.
Last term, meanwhile, he contributed directly to 36 goals in 38 games.
According to Paul Scholes, Sancho was United’s best player against Villarreal.
Scholes impressed by Sancho display
“I think he was Manchester United’s best player tonight. They need to use him more,” Scholes said.
“Playing in this team is a little bit different because he doesn’t have a flying full-back that he had at Dortmund. Because he’s not a flying machine himself.
“But he wants to be playing further forward. He’s such a clever footballer.
“He’s a player who wants to play in a possession game but he won’t get that a lot in the big games like on Sunday and he needs to adjust his game a bit to be more of a counter-attacking player.
He looks like the player we signed for £70 odd million.”
United face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday looking to address their poor Premier League form in recent weeks.