Premier League English

Jadon Sancho’s atrocious time-keeping and training levels are not up to scratch for club or country

It wasn’t too long ago when Erik ten Hag, noticing a dip in Jadon Sancho’s training levels, put an arm around the player’s shoulder and compassionately moved out of the glare of the spotlight and came up with concrete measures to deal with his charge’s physical and mental issues.

This saw Sancho soon training alone for eight weeks during the World Cup in December, including an intense spell within the safe confines of Dutch amateur club OJC Rosmalen where he worked with coaches trusted by Ten Hag. He did not see action for United for more than three months. At the end of January Sancho was re-integrated into the squad, which was seen as a victory for Ten Hag’s man-management and pastoral care.

However, fast-forwarding ahead into the following season, when the Dutchman this time had reason to question Sancho’s effort and attitude again ahead of the recent Sunday’s defeat at the Emirates stadium, the response seemed more combustible than compassionate.

Ten Hag said Sancho had been left in Manchester as there were issues with his performance levels in training. Ths immediately prompted the 23-year-old to react furiously on social media, turning on his manager and actually accusing of lying and making him a scapegoat.

The subsequent fall-out has left Sancho’s future at Old Trafford dangling in limbo at the end of a summer in which United were allegedly prepared to listen to offers around £45million for him.

What immediately comes to mind at this juncture is Cristiano Ronaldo’s eviction from the club for publicly challenging Ten Hag , although Sancho is nowhere as hard-nosed as the Portuguese striker was.

Whatever happens now remains to be seen but the issue has once again dredged up the disciplinary problems and personal issues that have hung over the gifted winger like the sword of Damocles throughout his career.

It’s now understood that Chelsea considered signing Sancho this summer but harbored concerns about his mindset and opted for Manchester City’s Cole Palmer instead.

England boss Gareth Southgate continues to keep more than the proverbial arm’s length away from Sancho and his name was well away from the conversation when the England manager named his squad for the upcoming Euro qualifier against Ukraine and friendly against Scotland.

Mail Sport has also highlighted that Southgate and his coaching staff have spoken about the problem of Sancho sulking when he is not selected in the line-up and the negative impact that can have on the atmosphere in camp. Apparently the issue dates back to Euro 2020 when the former Borussia Dortmund winger is said to have reacted petulantly to being left out of the squad for the opening group game against Croatia.

The winger was then stranded for another five matches on the bench at the tournament because Southgate felt that Sancho’s training levels were not up to scratch, the same issue that Ten Hag is now compelled to deal with.

His only call-up since then was in an experimental side for a World Cup qualifier against Andorra two years ago when Sancho was late for a team meeting and subsequently missed out on a place in Qatar.

It is apparent that time-keeping has become a perennial problem for one of English football’s hottest properties.

Tardiness was a recurring issue at Dortmund where manager Lucien Favre punished him on several occasions and dropped him for games against Barcelona and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Sancho was also fined by the German FA for breaking lockdown rules in order to get a haircut.

‘He just has to be smarter and grow up with things like that. You have to lead Jadon the right way,’ lamented his team-mate Emre Can.