Jadon Sancho does not deserve to be in the England squad on form, admits Gareth Southgate, but has been included for the next international break because they retain belief in the Manchester United forward.
Sancho has not managed to hit the ground running since his long-awaited transfer from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United. The Red Devils spent over a year pursuing the winger, but he is yet to get a goal or assist for them. Some feel the return of Cristiano Ronaldo has not helped his case.
The winger has started five games so far, adding a further three substitute appearances. But it has been a slow start to his Old Trafford career. Even so, he retained his place in the England squad for the upcoming October international break.
However, manager Southgate confessed that his current form would probably not warrant his inclusion. His theory, though, is to try to help each individual in the best way possible.
Southgate said: “Does he deserve to be in on these performances over the last few weeks? Well probably not.
“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 Manchester United as well and I think for him to feel that we have belief in him at this point is a good message.
“So again we’re talking about there’s no perfect solution here and you could easily throw another name at me that we’ve left out in the past and say, ‘well you didn’t deal with them in the same way’.
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“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 struggles don’t surprise Southgate
Continuing his advice for the 21-year-old, Southgate admitted he must step up to the rigours of the Premier League.
He said: “With Jadon I’m not surprised, really.
“The Bundesliga is totally different; Dortmund is a big club but Manchester United is one of the biggest in the world.
“There’s some adaptation to that. There’s a definite adaptation to the league. You’re not going to get the goals and assists numbers anywhere near in our league, that you are in the Bundesliga.
“There are some very good teams but also it’s a good league for young players to develop him because there are some teams that aren’t at that level.
“Our league, every game is intense and tough and he’s probably just starting to realise that.”