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Like Mo Salah and Kevin De Bruyne, Jadon Sancho may need a fresh start to thrive

Instead, the move has been cursed from the start. Even though Sancho is still only 23 with time to fulfil his potential, it might have to be away from Old Trafford given the tribulations of the past two seasons.

There was excitement when United won the race for Sancho in the summer of 2021. The winger had scored 50 goals and helped assist another 64 in four seasons at Borussia Dortmund alongside Jude Bellingham and Erling Haaland, justifying his decision to leave Manchester City as a teenager and go abroad.

He was never a speed merchant but boasted skill, balance, technique and game intelligence.

The decision to join United was taken before he was in England’s squad for Euro 2020 (played in 2021 because of Covid) but things quickly went awry after that.

Sancho missed a penalty in the shoot-out that determined the final against Italy on July 11, less than a fortnight before his move to Old Trafford was officially announced.

Like Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka he received online abuse and, whether that was a contributory factor, he was allowed to delay his arrival in Manchester to start preparing for the new season.

Solskjaer was seen as a good man-manager at that time but in retrospect the decision could be viewed as a mistake. Sancho was behind from the moment he arrived and, in some respects, has never caught up.

He watched United’s final warm-up game as a spectator when Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw, who had played a lot more minutes in Euro 2020 than he had done, had returned to training in time to play.

It meant Sancho began United’s first two Premier League games on the bench. Two days after his first start at Wolves, he had to face another bombshell – the dramatic signing of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo was guaranteed to be centre-forward which meant in-form Mason Greenwood switching out wide and Sancho suddenly struggling for a starting berth.

He didn’t get his first goal until November 21. A different type of character might have reacted to the setback by puffing out his chest and demanding the ball but Sancho seemed to shrink rather than grow on the big stage.

United’s overall form didn’t help either. Solskjaer was sacked and there was the farce of one interim, Ralf Rangnick, replacing another, Michael Carrick.

By the time Erik ten Hag arrived to oversee a proper rebuild, Sancho’s confidence was shot and the Dutchman took him out of the firing line to get himself together ‘physically and mentally’.

Prevail Inegbenose

Prevail Inegbenose is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Spark Media & Entertainment Ventures, the publisher of Spark News Daily - Nigeria's most sought-after online news platform - Politics, Sport & Entertainment. Prevail Inegbenose hails from Irrua, Esan Central LGA of Edo State. He studied Mass Communication from the prestigious Auchi Polytechnic Auchi and graduated in 2007. Prevail Inegbenose is a veteran journalist with 15 years of active and practical journalism. He has authored so many write-ups, a lot of which had been published in the newspapers, magazines and social media. Hence Prevail Inegbenose is a Journalist, Writer, Researcher, Author, Communication Expert and Consultant, Social Media Influencer, Project Management Expert, Peace Ambassador and Advocate of Good Governance and Better Society. He's a Pastor, in fact the Lead Pastor, House of God Int'l - Rest Tabernacle, Abuja Nigeria.

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