Home ยป Erik ten Hag is at the latest crossroads of his Manchester United tenure due to Jadon Sancho

Erik ten Hag is at the latest crossroads of his Manchester United tenure due to Jadon Sancho

by Vatsal Gupta

Erik ten Hag has been at Manchester United for just over a year now. His time can broadly be described as a success, mainly due to the number of harsh realities he has had to navigate.

From coming in and having to tear his playbook apart after the first two games, to the Cristiano Ronaldo situation, the winter World Cup, fixture overload, heavy away losses, and much more.

This season finally looked like United will take the next step but comments from one player have now ensured that Ten Hag is again at a crossroads of his United tenure.

United were beaten by Arsenal 1-3 at the Emirates in a performance that promised improvement but ultimately the result wasn’t any good.

However, one player, who wasn’t even playing, stole all the headlines after the game.

What’s the story?

Jadon Sancho was missing from the teamsheet when the XI dropped and many fans assumed it was due to an injury or illness. However, Ten Hag dropped a bomb in the post-match press briefing when he said that Sancho wasn’t considered for selection due to his below-par training performances.

The manager has so far been supportive of the Englishman, even last year, when he was given extensive time off to get his head right.

This season started with the famed “False 9” experiment in pre-season but it never came to fruition in competitive games. Therefore, this announcement by Ten Hag took everyone by surprise.

However, the worst was yet to come.

Sancho released a statement on his social media, effectively branding his manager’s comments as a load of lies. He reaffirmed his professionalism and commitment to training.

In a sensational bit of statement, he alleged that he had been made a “scapegoat” for the team’s failings. He said that he will “not allow people saying things that are completely untrue”, which is effectively an attack on his manager’s statements.

This is not a normal incident, but one that has happened twice during Ten Hag’s time at the club, with Cristiano Ronaldo being the first one.

So, where do we go from here?

The fallout

Ten Hag has been lauded for stamping his authority on the squad. Be it finishing Rashford for coming a few seconds late for a meeting, isolating Ronaldo, calling out Garnacho, or his treatment of De Gea/Maguire.

If history is any indicator, Sancho will likely see the repercussions of this statement of his.

Some things are just not aired publicly, especially when the optics don’t look good for the player.

Jadon Sancho’s whole United tenure has been a huge disappointment. 12 goals and six assists in 82 games for the club is an unforgivable return for a forward.

Furthermore, before the comment about his training performance, the manager had been an ardent supporter of the player.

Releasing a statement like that in such a scenario paints the player in a poor light. Instead of sympathy and understanding, he is likely to lose the fans and support from the manager which he would have counted upon earlier.

This stand-off is a trip right back to the dark days of the Rangnick “era”, where players just didn’t look interested in playing for him.

Ten Hag is at a crossroads again. He needs to take another big call on the future of a marquee player, at least on paper. It would be a shame for the player if Ten Hag’s decision is against him, which is likely to be.

However, he has brought it upon himself with his conduct.

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