Jadon Sancho has done more than just damage his Manchester United career – George Smith

For Jadon Sancho, his biggest regret might have been making contact with the &apospost&apos button on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, in the aftermath of Manchester United&aposs 3-1 defeat to Arsenal a fortnight ago. Not long after Erik ten Hag had told the assembled media in his post-match press conference that he had left the winger out of the matchday squad because of his below-par performances levels in training, Sancho hit back with an astonishing 110-word statement.

Ultimately accusing Ten Hag of lying, Sancho claimed that he had been made &aposa scapegoat for a long time&apos at Old Trafford. The statement remained pinned to the top of the 23-year-old&aposs profile for nine days.

After making the decision to delete it on Tuesday evening, United, just under 48 hours later, issued a statement themselves, confirming that he will not feature in first-team training until further notice. Ten Hag, whose management credentials are continuing to be tested, refused to refer to Sancho by name in his pre-Brighton press conference on Friday.

As Cristiano Ronaldo discovered almost a year ago, Ten Hag is not an individual to mess with. If you cross him or show any sign of disrespect towards him, you will be punished. Ronaldo, after betraying him in his extraordinary sit-down interview with Piers Morgan, never played for the club again.

Sancho is now in danger of receiving the same treatment. Since joining the club from Borussia Dortmund just over two years ago, it is fair to say that it is a move that has not worked out. He has scored just 12 goals and registered six assists in 82 appearances, regularly struggling for consistency.

Considering United coughed up 72.9million to bring him to Old Trafford, they are entitled to have expected more. Sancho, at the time of his arrival in M16 in July 2021, was considered one of the most exciting players in the world. He had scored 16 goals and registered 20 assists in his final season at Dortmund, meaning he registered 36 direct goal contributions in just 38 appearances across all competitions.

Quite rightly, those exploits earned him a spot in England&aposs 26-man squad for the rearranged European Championship in the summer of 2021. He didn&apost play as big a role as he would have liked, though, making just one start as the Three Lions reached their first major final in 55 years.

Just 12 days after missing a penalty in the shootout defeat to Italy, Sancho was unveiled as a United player. Rumblings of a move to Old Trafford increased throughout the tournament, resulting in England manager Gareth Southgate admitting that the winger&aposs performance levels in training had improved.

After securing a return to England, it was felt that Sancho, who was one of the hottest properties in the world at the time, would kick-on, impress Southgate further and become a staple in England&aposs attack. But since joining United, Sancho has played just once for his country – starting a 5-0 win over international minnows Andorra in October 2021.

As a result, he missed last year&aposs World Cup in Qatar and is now destined to miss next year&aposs European Championship in Germany, provided England finish the job in Group C and qualify. The thought of him missing back-to-back major tournaments for England when he rocked up at Old Trafford was inconceivable, such was the trajectory he had been on at Dortmund.

He was regularly tagged, at the time, as England&aposs most exciting prospect. The likes of Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka are now light years in front of him.

As sad as it is to see a naturally talented individual&aposs qualities go to waste, the book stops with Sancho. Ten Hag went out of his way towards the end of last year to try and help him get his career back on track, sending him to the Netherlands to work on an individual training programme during the World Cup pause.

Sancho has since thrown it back in his face, undermining him in a jaw-dropping social media post that was unnecessary. As a result, he has almost certainly quashed any hopes of resurrecting his United career, as well as denting his prospects of securing an England recall.

Manchester United are back in the Champions League after an impressive first season in charge for Erik ten Hag.

Having won the famous trophy three times, the Reds have a wonderful history in the European Cup. Now the Dutchman has to live up to that legacy.

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