Gary Neville believes Manchester United’s £73m summer signing Jadon Sancho could endure a Donny van de Beek scenario at the club.
The England international joined the Old Trafford club in the summer from Borussia Dortmund to much fanfare and a bumper price tag on his shoulders.
Having made the Bundesliga his playground following a calculated move from Man City in 2017, Sancho has returned to the Premier League looking to make a splash by fulfilling his potential back in the north west of England.
However, so far Sancho has struggled to adapt to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s system and has already fallen out of favour with the Norwegian, taking up a position as an unused substitute in three of the last five Premier League games, including the 5-0 defeat to Liverpool and 3-0 win over Tottenham.
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In fact, Sancho has started just three Premier League games this term, with the once-prolific winger yet to register a single goal involvement across 11 matches in all competitions for the club, with his only full 90 minutes coming in their League Cup exit to West Ham, a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford.
Neville has now referenced Van de Beek’s own first-team struggles at Man Utd as a cautionary tale to 21-year-old Sancho, who he believes must be getting extemely frustrated by the lack of game time under Solskjaer, particularly as the club have been struggling in recent weeks.
“I can’t help thinking about Van de Beek,” Neville told Sky Sports after Solskjaer’s ‘El Sackico’ win over Spurs. “Who has put their name on him? Who’s sponsoring that at Manchester United, that £40 million that’s been spent on that kid who’s been sat in the stand and not kicked a football for nearly 18 months?
“Sancho, if he’s not careful, is going to end up exactly the same. He’s played in some pretty appalling performances in the last few [weeks], not him… I mean team performances.
“He’s come into a club that’s looked completely disjointed in terms of their football. He’s played in a far better team and unit at Dortmund. He’s come in here and probably thinking, ‘what the hell am I in here? What is this?’. There’s no organisation, there’s no structure, the defensive work rate is poor.
“He’s actually the only player, when you look at the defensive running stats of Manchester United’s front players, that’s got anywhere near… I think he’s fifth or sixth out of the top four clubs’ front players, he was in the top 10. So he’s actually put a shift in.
“But he must be sat on that bench today thinking, ‘what am I doing?’, now he’s thinking, ‘where do I play in that system?’. Because I don’t see him in a three in midfield and I don’t see him in a two up front, so he’s probably thinking, ‘where is my career at Manchester United?’.
“And Van de Beek’s thinking the same. Today has been a good day but it does cause problems elsewhere.”