Erik ten Hag wanted to coax better performances from Jadon Sancho by calling out the winger’s Manchester United training standards but it has backfired.
Ten Hag used his post-match press conference after the Premier League defeat to Arsenal before the international break to send a message to Sancho, who was left out of the matchday squad for the trip to the Emirates.
“Jadon, on his performances in training we did not select him,” said Ten Hag of a player who only featured in each of the first three games of the season as a late substitute.
“You have to reach a level every day at Manchester United and we can make choices in the front line. So for this game he was not selected.”
Sancho immediately responded with a message that remains pinned at the top of his Twitter account, stating: ‘Please don’t believe everything you read! I will not allow people saying things that is (sic) completely untrue, I have conducted myself in training very well this week.
‘I believe there are other reasons for this matter that I won’t go into, l’ve been a scapegoat for a long time which isn’t fair! All I want to do is play football with a smile on my face and contribute to my team.
‘I respect all decisions that are made by the coaching staff, I play with fantastic players and (am) grateful to do so which I know every week is a challenge. I will continue to fight for this badge no matter what!’
Ten Hag is ‘shocked’ at how the situation has ‘escalated’ from an honest ‘challenge’ issued by the manager, to the current series of counterintuitive leaks and claims coming from both parties.
Fellow Manchester United players are said to be ‘fed up’ with Sancho, while it was said that the club ‘were not cleared’ to publicly disclose his mental health issues last season.
Ten Hag is said by the Sunday Mirror to have wanted to ‘lay down a challenge’ to Sancho but ‘was dismayed’ by his immediate response on social media and reckons that problems have ‘been blown out of proportion’ since.
While the manager feels ‘it can still be resolved’ if the player responds by raising his performances as he had initially hoped, Ten Hag ‘is also aware that he cannot allow his authority to be so brazenly challenged’.
Borussia Dortmund have emerged as a potential suitor for their former player, with the Bundesliga side monitoring developments at Old Trafford with a view to bringing Sancho back on loan.
Saudi Pro League side Al-Ettifaq made an unsuccessful attempt to sign the England international this summer, balking at Manchester United’s demand for a £50m obligation to buy to be inserted into an initial loan deal.