October 16, 2021

‘He will be a top player’ – Solskjaer defends Sancho after Southgate comments

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The 21-year-old is yet to score for the Old Trafford side but the coach is confident he will fulfil his potential at the club

Manchester United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has questioned Gareth Southgate’s assessment of Jadon Sancho after the England manager admitted the winger’s recent performances do not merit a call up to the national team.

Sancho has had a slow start to life at United since joining from Borussia Dortmund in the summer transfer window, having started just two Premier League matches this season and failing to score in his eight appearances for the club.

Despite naming Sancho in his latest England squad, Southgate said this week that he is not surprised by the 21-year-old’s struggles since returning to the Premier League.

What has been said?

Solskjaer was perplexed by the Three Lions manager’s comments, highlighting his performance against Villarreal in the Champions League.

“Was that interview [with Southgate] done before Wednesday night? Jadon was exceptional, he was electric, the crowd loved him,” Solskjaer said in a press conference.

“I think he felt that connection with the crowd, and that is what we want from him, to be direct, positive, go past players numerous times.

“Yeah he’s not scored yet but that night I thought: ‘Yeah that’s Jadon and we’re going to see loads of that.’

“And Gareth has also said it’s important Jadon knows they believe in him. They have invested time in him. He will be a top player. Performances are going to come.

“He’ll come good, we’ve got absolutely no worries. If he goes there I’m sure he will play well.”

What did Southgate say?

Southgate admitted that the winger will take time to adapt to life at Old Trafford since his return from Germany but backed him to improve.

“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,” he said.

He added: “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.”

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