Jadon Sancho must enjoy a fast start to next season at Manchester United because the big-money move looks “strange” as it stands, one pundit has said.
The winger was a long-term target for the Red Devils, who finally secured his signature last summer. United paid £73million to snap Sancho up and he moved to Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund with big expectations.
However, the 22-year-old struggled to adapt in his first season in the Premier League.
Former Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faced criticism for not playing Sancho enough in the first part of last season. Subsequent interim manager Ralf Rangnick – who watched Sancho’s progress in Germany – brought a spell of good form out of the winger.
Overall, though, he is still looking to find his feet as Erik ten Hag becomes the new United coach. As a result, Sancho did not make the England squad for their June Nations League commitments.
Noel Whelan has therefore warned Sancho that he must fast start if he wants to make the Three Lions’ World Cup ranks.
“Reflecting on this season, it’s not been great for Sancho or Man United,” pundit Whelan told Football Insider.
“That’s the reason why he’s not in the England set-up. People have been playing more regularly and putting in better performances. It took him a long time to finally move to Man United – but it’s not been the easiest of transitions.
“Hopefully under Ten Hag he can get more minutes and play in a system that suits him better. We hardly saw anything in the way of consistency last season. It’s looking like a strange move at this point.
“It’s an area where England are saturated with talent. He’s going to have to hit the ground running at the start of next season.
“Otherwise, he’s in danger of missing out on the World Cup.”
Sancho in same Man Utd boat as Rashford
Sancho is not the only England star on Man Utd’s books who is looking to get back in Gareth Southgate’s England plans.
Marcus Rashford has also dropped out of the Three Lions thinking after playing a key role under the current manager.
He suffered his own spells of poor form – as well as undergoing shoulder surgery – this season which set his progress back.
However, he had chances to impress Rangnick and never really got back to his best.
As such, next term is a big one for Sancho and Rashford. Across Manchester, City stars Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden all made Southgate’s latest squad.
Sancho and Rashford have work to do to make the squad alongside them – or even push one or more of the trio out.