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Erik ten Hag praises Jadon Sancho, challenges him to break into the first team

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag believes that keeping Jadon Sancho away from the first team for a few weeks was the right decision.

Sancho went to an individual programme to boost his mental and physical fitness with coaches recommended to him by Ten Hag.

He returned as a substitute in the Carabao Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

He was again involved in the Red Devils’ Premier League clash with Leeds United where his goal helped his side to secure a 2-2 draw.

Speaking to Sky Sports (via Football Daily), Ten Hag lavished praise on Sancho.

“He [Sancho] is growing.” Ten Hag said. “He is definitely in a better place than two or three months ago, when he was away from the team – I think it was the right decision.

“He [Sancho] worked hard on himself and now he is back, and now he has to find himself back in the team and has to go step by step. 

“He has come from the bench, so I hope he can make the next steps.”

Time for Jadon Sancho to repay Erik ten Hag’s faith

Sancho’s performance against Leeds United was highly encouraging. He played with confidence and made his mark by scoring the equaliser.

He was willing to take on defenders and took some good attacking positions on the left flank.

It was also his first league goal since his match-winning strike against Leicester City in September 2022.

The 22-year-old started this campaign brightly but his form tailed off drastically. 

It is very unusual for a player to get a few weeks off in the middle of the season so he can undertake an individual training programme. 

Ten Hag has rightly praised Sancho for his determination, and his next challenge is to earn a starting spot in the team.

His cameos from the bench have looked good, but he may have to wait for more to see himself named in the XI.

The manager is very particular about his team selections, allowing only those players to start who have been consistent in training and on matchday.

Now is the time for Sancho to step up and show why he is so highly rated.

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