Jadon Sancho has had a good start to the Premier League season
Jadon Sancho was snubbed by Gareth Southgate for the latest England squad — but many would argue the Manchester United winger deserved a recall.
The 22-year-old initially struggled after joining the Red Devils from Borussia Dortmund but enjoyed a strong pre-season and has been much improved this term.
Sancho has starred as United have bounced back from a poor start to the season, winning each of their last four Premier League games.
Ahead of United’s highly anticipated derby against local rivals Manchester City, we take a look at the wide man’s prospects of earning a place on the plane to the World Cup in Qatar.
Season to forget
When United lured former City youngster Sancho back to English shores from the Bundesliga last summer, the capture was viewed as a real coup.
He had just enjoyed three outstanding campaigns in Germany after cementing himself in Dortmund’s side during 2018-19, scoring 49 times and registering 60 assists in 120 appearances across all competitions in that period.
Despite that incredible record, his first season in Manchester was not nearly as successful.
A maiden campaign of 29 Premier League outings brought just three goals and three assists — and the result has been just one England cap since the Euro 2020 final.
Rediscovering his touch
Jadon Sancho’s shots are usually from high-quality chances
Sancho has already nearly matched his Premier League goal tally from the entirety of last season in just six outings this campaign. .
Only Marcus Rashford (three) has scored more league goals for the Red Devils so far than Sancho’s two — both of which came from big chances in open play.
Sancho has not been pulling the trigger very often, however, taking just four shots with three hitting the target.
His expected goals on target tally of 1.91 is also only second to Rashford’s among United players though, suggesting the quality of his finishing is strong on the occasions that he does choose to let fly.
United boss Erik ten Hag insists that there is even more to come from Sancho in the coming weeks.
Speaking after the Red Devils’ 1-0 win over Leicester on September 1, the Dutchman claimed his No25 possesses all the requisite skills to be prolific at Premier League level.
He said: “I think [Sancho] had quite a good pre-season.
“He understands now he has to invest in the physical and that is what he did. Now he can get the reward and that is what he has to bring. I’m sure it’s just the start for him.
“With his potential, there’s much more room for improvement, he can be even more important and contribute with his creativity and scoring goals and assists.
“With the defending part, he can be even more important too. I think he can become a prolific goalscorer.
“He has the capabilities and he did it also in a different league but this is Premier League, so the intensity is higher, so he has to adapt to that, mentally and physically. The capabilities are there, the skills.”
Jadon Sancho’s attacking numbers this season have improved
Since the end of last season, Sancho appears to have found his confidence again
His technical ability in tight spaces was one of the many factors that convinced United to splash out for his signature — and it is beginning to come to the fore once more.
Sancho is more willing to run at his man this term, attempting 12 take-ons and succeeding with seven which represent the second and third-best tallies in the United squad.
Jadon Sancho completes a lot of passes in the final third
It would be unfair to judge Sancho’s resurgence solely on how many chances he has scored and created, however.
His creative talents have been crucial to United’s hot streak in the Premier League, completing 67 passes into the final third — second only to Bruno Fernandes — from 79 attempted.
That represents a high success rate, as has been the case for many of Sancho’s actions this term.
It appears the 22-year-old is beginning to understand the importance of contributing in a more rounded manner — and that approach may well earn him his England spot back ahead of the World Cup.