England coach Gareth Southgate says Jadon Sancho is lucky to be in squad after Man United struggles
Gareth Southgate admits Jadon Sancho is HAPPY to be part of the England squad amid his slow start to life at Man United – and he only included the winger so as not to increase his concerns
- Gareth Southgate considered removing Jadon Sancho from his England squad
- He added the Man United winger to prevent him from becoming more insecure
- “We have invested in Jadon. We believe he can reach a high level,” the coach said
- Southgate said he would like to speak to Sancho about his problems early in the season
Gareth Southgate considered removing Jadon Sancho from his England squad but took on the Manchester United winger to avoid creating more uncertainty.
While there was a place for Sancho among the 23 who will face Andorra and Hungary, his United colleagues Mason Greenwood and Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund were left out after Southgate held talks with their clubs and families.
The manager is aware that he is not overexposing Greenwood, who turns 20 today, and Bellingham and believes this camp is one the pair should miss after a hectic start to the campaign. However, there were recalls for AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori and Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins.
Gareth Southgate has revealed he is considering removing Jadon Sancho from England squad
Sancho has struggled to impress since moving to Manchester United this summer
Southgate played with the omission of Sancho, acknowledging that his slow start at Old Trafford after a £73million summer transfer from Dortmund – no goals or assists in eight appearances – does not justify an international selection. But he didn’t want to increase the player’s concerns.
So Southgate will discuss what has been a challenging period for Sancho when he reports to St George’s Park. The 21-year-old has only started twice for England this year – a friendly against Romania and the Euro 2020 quarter-final against Ukraine – but Southgate remains confident.
‘Does he deserve to be present at these performances over the past few weeks? Well, probably not,” Southgate said. “But we have invested in Jadon over time. We believe he can reach a high level. I would like to have time to talk to him and help with the process that is going on at United.
“The fact that he has the feeling that we believe in him right now is a good message. So again, there is no perfect solution here. You could easily give me another name that we’ve left out in the past and say, “Well, you didn’t handle them the same way.”
Sancho got a rare start in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Villarreal in the Champions League
‘We try individually to do the right thing at the right time, to send the right message. Sometimes the right message is to leave a player out. They may respond and that’s the right thing to do, but we think it’s important with Jadon to keep him with us.’
Sancho struggled to impress in United’s Champions League win against Villarreal on Wednesday and was substituted. What he has shown so far is a pale shadow of his exciting Dortmund form, but Southgate is not surprised.
“The Bundesliga is completely different,” Southgate said. “Dortmund is a big club, but Manchester United is one of the biggest in the world. There is a clear adjustment to the competition. You don’t come close to the goals and assist numbers in our league that you are in the Bundesliga.
“There are some very good teams, but it is also a good competition for young players to develop because there are teams that are not at that level. In our league every game is intense and tough and he’s probably just starting to realize that.’
Bellingham is taking advantage of his time in Germany, but Southgate wants him to rest.
But the winger was largely ineffective in the game and was taken off by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
He also insisted that Greenwood’s time would come soon, admitting it was wrong to pick the United striker for last September’s Nations League games against Iceland and Denmark.
“That’s a fair challenge,” said Southgate, revealing that Brentford’s Ivan Toney is on his radar. “We didn’t know much about Mason back then. You are drawn to the quality of performance and maturity you see on the pitch. So you have to say that maybe that was a bit early.
“He feels at the moment that it is a big challenge to settle at United. I totally understand that.
“With Jude, we didn’t have to let him travel again. If we give him mental and physical rest, it’s better that as an 18-year-old he can do that and just relax for a while. They don’t come as a couple, but they are in similar situations.”
Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham was locked out because Southgate wants him to rest
This England camp should, in theory, be less busy than usual as they will beat Andorra for a week tomorrow and follow comfortably against Hungary at Wembley.
Southgate’s ambition for England is to finish a calendar year unbeaten, with no penalty kicks.
“That’s the kind of form Belgium has shown over time,” Southgate said.
“Belgium has shown how to become strong contenders and that is where we feel we are. Every player on the squad knows that there is huge competition. I think that’s the driving force behind some of the gigs we have.”