Ten Hag previews Man Utd's trip to Arsenal
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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has given an update on Jadon Sancho ahead of the Red Devils’ crunch clash with Arsenal on Sunday and says the winger is “making the next step” towards his return. Sancho hasn’t played for United since mid-October after struggling with his physical and mental health.
United shelled out £73million to prise Sancho away from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2021 after the ace had excelled in Germany. But the 22-year-old struggled for form during his maiden campaign at Old Trafford as United underperformed under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his interim successor Ralf Rangnick.
Sancho started 10 of United’s first 11 Premier League matches this season as he contributed two goals and one assist. But he has not appeared in a matchday squad since warming the bench for his team in a clash against West Ham at the end of October.
“He is making the next step,” Ten Hag said on Friday. “It is true, he has had his first day at team training but team training is the final day before the game. So we will extend that in the coming days, the coming week and go step by step.”
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Sancho missed out on a place in England’s World Cup squad last year after falling out of favour with Gareth Southgate, with his country going on to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament in Qatar before being knocked out by France.
The player then spent a period away from United and underwent a training regime in Holland under the guidance of coaches trusted by Ten Hag. He missed the Red Devils’ training camp in Spain at the start of December ahead of the return of domestic football, with Ten Hag explaining at the time: “I’ve had several talks with Jadon and I don’t think he will be back this week, no.
“Sometimes there are circumstances with fitness and mood. Now he’s on a physical programme and our aim is to get him back as quickly as possible. But I can’t give a prognosis of when that will be. He wasn’t fit enough to be there [in Spain]. It’s a combination of physically and mentally.”
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United have enjoyed a precipitous upturn in fortunes under Ten Hag in recent months and have climbed to third in the Premier League table after losing just one of their last 11 matches in the competition.
Last weekend, the Red Devils came from behind to defeat Manchester City 2-1 at Old Trafford after Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford found the back of the net. And on Sunday, they will move to within five points of table-toppers Arsenal if they win at the Emirates Stadium.
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