Jadon Sancho is yet to score or assist in five appearances for Manchester United – and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must carefully manage the £73million winger in upcoming fixtures
Last season, Jadon Sancho averaged just shy of a goal or an assist per appearance for Borussia Dortmund.
It was this eye-catching form which convinced Manchester United to rekindle their interest from the previous summer and sign him for £73million this July.
But Sancho has not picked up where he left off since leaving Westfalenstadion for Old Trafford.
The 21-year-old has featured in each of United’s five games this season but he is yet to register a goal involvement.
In contrast, Sancho’s attacking colleagues Mason Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes have hogged the spotlight with their fantastic displays and Cristiano Ronaldo has, of course, dominated headlines since his return to the club.
Perhaps the England international is slightly relieved his underwhelming start to life in the Premier League is going under the radar.
The furore surrounding Ronaldo only grew as he plundered two goals against Newcastle United last weekend, while there has been an ongoing inquest into the defeat by Young Boys on Tuesday, with blame pinned on Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s red card and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decisions.
There have been some murmurings about Sancho’s poor form, but they have been overshadowed for the most part.
Solskjaer must act before the situation gets worse, however, when the criticism of the youngster will not be so muffled.
United’s lavish summer spending saw them add Ronaldo and Sancho to an already-formidable attack. This means there is no need to leave Sancho on the wing, shunting him from left to right, as he struggles to adapt to his new surroundings.
Although Edinson Cavani has been short of fitness and Marcus Rashford is rehabilitating from a shoulder injury, Solskjaer has Greenwood, Fernandes, Paul Pogba – who looks especially potent on the left flank – and Ronaldo at his disposal.
Should Ole Gunnar Solskjaer drop Jadon Sancho for Manchester United’s trip to West Ham? Comment below.
Further, the likes of Jesse Lingard, Donny van de Beek and Anthony Martial are waiting in the wings for minutes and veteran Juan Mata was handed a one-year extension in the summer.
Now is the time for Solskjaer to use the full array of talent in his squad, handing Sancho time out of the limelight to grow accustomed to his new teammates and the expectations on his shoulders.
Choosing to keep Sancho in the starting XI when he is short of confidence seems an unnecessary risk given the hundreds-of-millions-worth of talent on the bench for each game.
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The England international is no stranger to dips in form having failed to score in the Bundesliga last season until January.
Sancho bounced back this calendar year to score eight goals in the German top flight despite missing one-and-a-half months through injury.
He will no doubt emerge from this slump to show why Solskjaer and Gareth Southgate rate him so highly, but in the meantime Solskjaer must not be afraid to bench the £73million man.