Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has finally spoken out about Jadon Sancho after months of remaining tight-lipped about the banished star. On Thursday, Sancho returned to Borussia Dortmund on loan until the end of the season, ending his four-month exile after a public spat with the Dutchman.
The 23-year-old winger hasn’t featured for United since August 26, when he came on as a substitute in the 3-2 comeback win against Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford.
He was excluded from Ten Hag’s travelled squad for the 3-1 defeat at Arsenal at the start of September, much to the confusion of supporters.
After full-time at the Emirates Stadium, the Red Devils boss claimed his decision was due to Sancho’s poor training levels. Shortly after, Sancho took to X (formerly Twitter) with a statement disputing that reasoning.
The England international essentially labelled Ten Hag a liar, leading to a private meeting that failed to resolve their differences. Ten Hag wanted a formal apology.
But Sancho refused, leading to four months of training on the academy pitches at Carrington, seemingly waiting for the January transfer window to arrive.
Dortmund, who sold him to United for £73million in 2021, offered an escape route, and he was all smiles as he completed his temporary return this week.
Ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash against Tottenham Hotspur, Ten Hag was unsurprisingly questioned about Sancho’s departure.
He briefly said: “I hope he’s doing well, so I wish him the best of good luck. That’s it. I hope he’s doing well, and he’ll be a success.”
But when pressed for more detail later in his press conference, Ten Hag produced a frosty response to divert attention away from the United No 25.
“I replied [to the previous question], I think it’s enough,” Ten Hag responded.
United have problems elsewhere in attack. Similar to Sancho, Antony has struggled to hit the ground running after his big-money arrival in 2022.
The Brazilian winger, also 23, has failed to register a single goal or assist in 21 appearances during his second season at Old Trafford.
He was out of contention for a few weeks earlier in the campaign as he faced domestic abuse accusations in his homeland, all of which he strenuously denied.
And Ten Hag admits that the incident has negatively impacted his form. He explained: “I can explain. I think it’s very simple. His off-field issues stop him from playing.
“First year was okay, the pre-season was very okay, first four games were very good. I’ve seen the game against Spurs back, and he played a very good game.
“But from the moment he was out, and then he came back and didn’t deliver the performance you should expect from him, and he can do so much better.”