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He knows what he has to do – Erik ten Hag on Jadon Sancho’s Man Utd future

Erik ten Hag has been speaking about Jadon Sancho, left (Martin Rickett/PA)
Erik ten Hag has been speaking about Jadon Sancho, left (Martin Rickett/PA)

Erik ten Hag has indicated the door is still open for Jadon Sancho to save his Manchester United career but said the winger must buy into the culture he has created at the club.

Sancho has not played for United since August, and fell out with Ten Hag in early September when he responded to comments made by the manager regarding his performances in training by saying he had been made a “scapegoat”.

Although Sancho later deleted the social media post, he has not made the apology that Ten Hag demanded and has continued to train alone.

Sancho has scored 24 goals in 92 appearances for United since a £73million move from Borussia Dortmund in 2021. A January move would appear to suit all parties, but when asked directly if Sancho’s time was up, Ten Hag said it was still in the player’s hands.

Jadon Sancho has not played since August
Jadon Sancho has not played since August (John Walton/PA)

“It is about a culture and every player has to match certain standards and it was about that,” the manager said. “What will happen there, he knows what he has to do, if he wants to return it is up to him. He knows what he has to do, it is up to him.”

Ten Hag has been determined to improve discipline at the club since his arrival in Manchester 18 months ago.

Young winger Alejandro Garnacho was one of the first to get a taste of that when he was dropped during the summer tour of 2022 after turning up late for meetings, but the 19-year-old learned his lessons well.

Garnacho has been one of the star performers in recent weeks, and as Ten Hag won the Premier League manager of the month award for November and Harry Maguire took player of the month honours, Garnacho made it a hat-trick with his outstanding bicycle kick at Everton winning goal of the month.

“There is big potential and there is a lot to build on but we are happy with his performing in this moment and happy with his contribution,” Ten Hag said.

“The foundation and basis is always the defending part of his game but attacking-wise he has the key actions – assists, counter-attacks and scoring goals, that is very important for an offensive player that you have the production.”

Garnacho’s form on the left has come at a time when Marcus Rashford continues to struggle for form, having been dropped for the midweek 2-1 win over Chelsea.

That came after the defensive side of Rashford’s game was criticised in the 1-0 defeat to Newcastle last weekend.

Ten Hag said it was up to the England forward to force his way back into the side, but denied that Rashford was lacking when it came to tracking back.

“‘Rashy’ knows exactly what to do, nowadays in football it is not possible,” he said. “All top-level teams and all players are doing the jobs. When you can’t do it you will not play but I don’t attach that to ‘Rashy’ as he is doing the job.”

Any comeback may need to wait, with Rashford a doubt for Saturday’s match against Bournemouth after missing training through illness on Friday.