Manchester United winger Jadon Sancho was substituted off at halftime in United’s 3-2 comeback against Omonia in the Europa League.
The forward was named in the starting XI by Erik ten Hag, but his poor showing in the opening 45 minutes saw him get replaced by Marcus Rashford during the break.
Rashford’s introduction into proceedings saw him score a brace to help the Red Devils clinch all three points.
While there were many aspects of Sancho’s game in Cyprus that left a lot to be desired, the most obvious one came in the 34th minute.
United were in attack when Sancho who was on the ball elected to pass it back to Tyrell Malacia. Malacia, under pressure, was quickly hurried off the ball. Omonia went ahead to score from the ensuing counter-attack to shed first blood.
Sancho had options and his decision to pass to Malacia when he could have either whipped the ball into the box or passed it to the underlapping Bruno Fernandes puzzled many.
However, beyond the pass to Malacia, it was the lack of urgency in his tracking back to make amends that stood out, as reported by The Telegraph’s James Ducker.
Ducker says, “What was less forgivable was Sancho’s response to seeing Malacia miscontrol the ball and lose possession as Omonia broke away on the transition.”
“Christian Eriksen, sensing trouble, was already on his bike. Sancho? Well, he simply dropped his head and began trotting back as four players who had started behind him – Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez, Diogo Dalot and Casemiro – surged past him as they sprinted back in the hope of rectifying the mess.”
Sancho’s laziness that was on show against Omonia in that instance follows up on Paul Scholes’ criticism of the Englishman and Antony for their failure to execute their defensive responsibilities against Manchester City.
Ducker adds, “Too often, he [Sancho] is peripheral to the action, and the statistics support it, with Sancho well down for shots, touches, dribbles, chances created and assists on his previous four seasons.”
Sancho has a fight on his hands with regard to getting back into the team, especially after Anthony Martial‘s return. Only the left flank position is left for him to battle it out with Rashford. He must rise to the occasion lest risk a reduced role in Erik ten Hag’s plans.
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