Having matured into one of the supposedly greatest talents in English football at Borussia Dortmund, Jadon Sancho switched to Manchester United in the summer of 2021, flushed BVB a whopping 85 million euros into the coffers – and could not even begin to meet the expectations placed on him. Now there is finally a turnaround.
Jadon Sancho had a rather disappointing existence at Manchester United for a year and a half. The winger very rarely flashed the outstanding performances from his time at BVB. The result: growing self-doubt, a missed World Cup and a drastic step by coach Erik ten Hag.
The Dutchman cut Sancho from the professional squad, denied him participation in the winter training camp in Spain and instead sent the 22-year-old to the Dutch football province, where he completed a few practice sessions at amateur club OJC Rosmalen.
However, there can be no question of a penalty: Ten Hag wanted to give his protégé the necessary rest, away from all the hustle and bustle, to get his person, body and mind back on track, the routine of professional football should be broken as drastically as possible. A trick that is now apparently paying off.
After missing 11 games in the Red Devils squad despite being able to play, Sancho returned to the bench against Leeds United on Wednesday night. But that’s not all: after being substituted on, the ex-BVB star even saved the record English champions from a surprising defeat with his first goal since September 2022.
Sancho stands out as a joker
After falling two goals behind, ten Hag’s team fought their way 2-2 (0-1) against ailing Leeds United, who narrowly missed out on a win in the first game after separating from ex-Leipzig coach Jesse Marsch.
When new signing Marcel Sabitzer made his debut in the starting XI, United fell behind after just 56 seconds through Wilfried Gnonto, and an own goal by Raphael Varane (48′) made it 0-2. Marcus Rashford (62) put the Red Devils back in the game with his 11th goal of the season before Sancho United saved a point.
After the game, Sancho reiterated on Twitter that a huge weight fell from his heart: “I can’t tell you how much I missed that feeling! The team showed great character to stay in the game, the weekend is going it further,” wrote the offensive star.
“I’m proud that he did it. I support him, the coaches support him, the team supports him, but he has to do it alone,” commented ten Hag on Sancho’s return to the pitch. “It’s in his own hands. If he wants, he can do it. I really enjoy seeing him play with confidence and conviction like he did today.”
United are third in the table with 43 points and seven points behind leaders Arsenal, who have played two games fewer. Leeds have now gone eight league games without a win and are 16th.