For some reason, Sancho already has his critics in England.
Life in Manchester hasn’t gone too great for Jadon Sancho so far.
No goals and no assists for a player of his ability – with his price tag – is always going to attract some negative headlines, even if it is after only a handful of games.
But, as is often the case in football, sport, and life in general, a small bit of perspective would go a long way.
No, Sancho is not a flop, or fraud, as the anonymous accounts on ‘football Twitter’ would have you believe. He is not now automatically overrated, nor is he a bad signing because of his subpar start.
He is simply finding his feet, at one of the biggest football clubs in the world, while also playing in a number of different positions in a short period of time.
At Dortmund, he was more often than not asked to play right wing, a position which he was more than comfortable playing in. He is still excellent coming off the left, and would even be a threat in the #10 role, but he is a right winger.
At United so far, he has been more of a left winger, largely due to the outrageous talent of Mason Greenwood, who prefers coming off the right. That’s not to mention the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo, who is of course one of the finest players to ever kick a ball, but remains an extremely intimidating presence.
Sancho has gone from being THE big money signing, to being overshadowed by arguably the best goalscorer of all time.
It is also worth remembering again, that Sancho has played less than 10 games for United. But while fans are questioning his ability, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and his undeniable limitations, can’t be ignored.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Sancho has come from a Dortmund team, where coaching is king. Patterns of play are crucial to success, and there was a very clear identity to the side, that was clear to those who only tuned in once every few weeks.
Three years into Solskjaer’s reign, and there still is no style of play. Gary Neville made this point at the weekend, and when discussing those playing under the manager, it has to be mentioned.
United have played some breathtaking attacking football at times under Solskjaer, but not regularly enough to convince those watching that there is a clear style of play in place.
Does Sancho know exactly what his manager wants from him? Probably not.
Jadon Sancho in all competitions for Borussia Dortmund:
2017-18: 5 goals, 7 assists
2018-19: 13 goals, 20 assists
2019-20: 20 goals, 20 assists
2020-21: 16 goals, 20 assists
He's still only 21 years old.
— Goal (@goal) June 30, 2021
If United get a top manager in, or Solskjaer starts to play with a clearer attacking plan, we’ll see a new side to Jadon Sancho, and those who wrote him off after five or six games will be left to bite their tongue.
Meanwhile, while Solskjaer is in charge, Sancho will still improve as he gets to know his teammates and what runs they will make (or not make). And the people who were willing to give some time to a 21-year-old with the stats of an already world class winger, will reap the benefit.