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Jadon Sancho

Sancho's Man Utd career questioned by Neville as £73m attacker compared to Van de Beek

08:19 GMT 31/10/2021
Jadon Sancho Manchester United 2021-22
A former Red Devil thinks the winger will be growing frustrated by a lack of regular minutes at Old Trafford

Jadon Sancho could end up like Donny van de Beek, according to Gary Neville, who says the £73 million ($100m) star doesn't seem to fit Manchester United's system.

Sancho was an unused substitute for the second successive game as United ran out 3-0 winners at Tottenham on Sunday, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer switching to a 3-5-2 formation following last week's 5-0 humiliation at the hands of Liverpool.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani both found the net after starting up front together, while Marcus Rashford came off the bench to round off the scoring, leaving Neville concerned about Sancho's role in the squad.

What's been said?

United spent big money to prise the winger away from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, but a club legend is already seeing similarities between his situation and Van de Beek's.

The Dutchman has been reduced to a bit-part role in Solskjaer's plans since signing from Ajax in 2020, and Neville is worried that Sancho will already be growing frustrated with his own lack of regular minutes.

"I can’t help thinking about Van de Beek," the former Red Devils captain told Sky Sports after the Spurs win. "Who has put their name on him? Who’s sponsoring that at Manchester United, that £40 million that’s been spent on that kid who’s been sat in the stand and not kicked a football for nearly 18 months?

"Sancho, if he’s not careful, is going to end up exactly the same. He’s played in some pretty appalling performances in the last few [weeks], not him… I mean team performances.

"He’s come into a club that’s looked completely disjointed in terms of their football. He’s played in a far better team and unit at Dortmund. He’s come in here and probably thinking, ‘what the hell am I in here? What is this?’. There’s no organisation, there’s no structure, the defensive work rate is poor.

"He’s actually the only player, when you look at the defensive running stats of Manchester United’s front players, that’s got anywhere near… I think he’s fifth or sixth out of the top four clubs’ front players, he was in the top 10. So he’s actually put a shift in.

"But he must be sat on that bench today thinking, ‘what am I doing?’, now he’s thinking, ‘where do I play in that system?’. Because I don’t see him in a three in midfield and I don’t see him in a two up front, so he’s probably thinking, ‘where is my career at Manchester United?’.

"And Van de Beek’s thinking the same. Today has been a good day but it does cause problems elsewhere."

Sancho's miserable start at United

Sancho has appeared in 11 matches across all competitions for United so far this season, but only six of those have come as a starter.

The 21-year-old has also yet to record to a single goal or assist, having seemingly lost the clinical edge in the final third that made him one of the most deadly young attackers in Europe at Dortmund.

There is still plenty of time for Sancho to turn his fortunes around, though, and he will hope to earn a recall to Solskjaer's line-up when the Red Devils take on Manchester City in a crucial derby clash next weekend.

Further reading