Manchester United winger Jadon Sancho has had a mixed season so far.
The Englishman has shown glimpses of his Dortmund form, as witnessed in his sublime goals against Liverpool, Leicester and Sheriff. But recently, the forward has come under pressure for his inability to become involved in games and make any meaningful impact.
United legend Rio Ferdinand launched an inquiry into Sancho’s poor displays, attributing this to a number of things including the pace of the Premier League and the player being asked to do more defensively.
The Athletic in their analysis reports “another is to do with how Sancho’s games for United this season have seen him play ahead of Malacia — an aggressive defender, but someone who at 23 is still building his attacking game.”
“Malacia’s attempts to play as an inverted full-back, contributing to team build-up, have seen him scrutinised by his Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal, while his overlapping runs are infrequent and easily read by opponents.”
“Malacia … did not get particularly close to Sancho when the winger was on the ball. In the second, replacement Shaw constantly offered himself on the overlap.”
A solution as per The Athletic is to pair Sancho with Shaw.
Beyond Malacia, The Athletic also name Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen as players who, while they have the ability to facilitate the 22-year-old’s playmaking, are more inclined to take the ball and place the burden of creation on their own shoulders alone.
The two, in an effort to involve the former Borussia Dortmund star, could achieve this by combining with him in short passes phases of play and coming into central areas to look for shooting positions.
Another reason that could explain Sancho’s situation at Old Trafford that now sees him second in the pecking behind on both flanks behind Marcus Rashford and Antony is a shortage of confidence.
This is evidenced by his constantly electing to pass back to the full-back or a supporting midfielder even when there is an option of beating his man.
Fortunately for Sancho, he is still young and talented enough to show what he can do and force his way back into the team.