Erik ten Hag casts doubt over Jadon Sancho's Man Utd future: He's not important

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has been non-committal over the future of Jadon Sancho after the winger was exiled from the squad for refusing to apologise for his public outburst.

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The 23-year-old is currently training alone and using the club’s academy facilities after getting into a spat with his manager following United’s 3-1 defeat to Arsenal earlier this month.

Ten Hag said Sancho’s non-selection in the matchday squad at the Emirates was due to his less-than-impressive performances in training, an accusation the winger resented.

Writing on social media platform X – formerly known as Twitter – Sancho claimed he was being made a ‘scapegoat’ and feels he has been the victim of double standards.

The former Borussia Dortmund attacker later deleted the message, though he refused a request to issue a public apology to his manager and has therefore been ostracised from the first-team squad and facilities.

At his pre-match press conference on Friday, Ten Hag refused to refer to Sancho by name despite being asked about the drama, instead saying that his job as manager meant he had to ‘control standards’ – standards he clearly feels the England winger has not met.

Ten Hag was pressed further on Sancho’s future during the embargoed section of his press conference and refused to give any assurances, even saying he considered the England winger ‘unimportant’ as he plans for United’s clash with Brighton on Saturday.

Asked if he would consider playing Sancho again, Ten Hag replied: ‘I don’t know. I am sitting here. Tomorrow we have a big game, we are going into a new block of games, many games in a condensed programme. I focus on that.

‘I don’t know [how long the disciplinary issue will take] but, as I say, I don’t think about that. I think about tomorrow. I think about the way the team has to progress. We go to Champions League. I have a lot to consider to make the right decisions.

‘I don’t think this subject is important. I think what is important is I have to prepare my team. So that’s what I do. It is also not about me, it is about the team and the club. I put my energy into giving the best performance tomorrow against Brighton.

‘I prepare my team the best I can, I put all my effort into the players who are available. He [Sancho] is not available, so in this moment, he is not important, because he can’t contribute.’

Asked if he considered not going public with his grievances over Sancho’s training performances, the United boss added: ‘I’m always honest. You have to keep things inside, but sometimes you can’t. When I’m asked the question, I will be honest.’

Speaking earlier in the day, Ten Hag had said of the Sancho drama: ‘I think everything is said. So the squad is strong, in good spirits and good mood going into the game.

‘Strict line is the point but the club ask me because there was no good concept before the end of last season, my job to control the standards.

‘It’s never been one mistake, it’s a whole process before you come to a certain outcome about straight lines, the staff and players there is a structure with crossed lines and you have to be strong absolutely.’

With Antony on a leave of absence after being accused of assault and Mason Mount still sidelined, Sancho’s exile comes at a particularly inconvenient time and could see youngster Facundo Pellistri given a chance on the right wing.

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