Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has backed Jadon Sancho to become an important player for the club once more following his long-awaited return to action on Wednesday night.
Sancho came off the bench to a rapturous reception at Old Trafford to contribute to United’s 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest to cement their place in the Carabao Cup final later this month.
The 22-year-old hadn’t featured since October before that, with initially illness and then concerns over fitness and also his mental wellbeing keeping him out of the team.
But Sancho showed even in flashes against Forest, playing an important role in the move that made the second goal for Fred, that he has the quality to make an impact.
“He already showed that [he can be a decisive player],” Ten Hag said afterwards.
“This season for instance, the game against Liverpool was a great goal. He scored against Leicester. He had some really good games, Spurs as well, so he already showed his great capabilities.”
Sancho is yet to consistently perform to those standards in a United shirt since his 2021 transfer from Borussia Dortmund, although he has faith from the boss and time remains on his side.
“He has really high standards,” Ten Hag continued. “He has great capabilities to contribute to our team and the team is improving, we are playing more in the opponent’s half and his capabilities are coming more to the fore. He can act on them more and have more touches on the ball and that gives him the best platform to perform.
“It is always important that players enjoy football because that gives energy and also the motivation to act and to perform.
“The reception from the fans to him was great and that will give him even more a push to continue in the way he is now acting. He has just started again, he is back in Carrington, and hopefully he can keep that and really contribute to the team because when he is in form, he is important to us.”