Gareth Southgate backs Jadon Sancho but admits he doesn’t deserve England place on Man United form

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Gareth Southgate has admitted that Jadon Sancho does not deserve to be in the current England squad based on his performances for Manchester United but says he has belief the winger will come good.

Sancho is yet to make an impact in a United shirt after a returning to Manchester in a £73million deal from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.

The 21-year-old returned to Southgate’s squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary after missing last month’s triple-header through injury and the England manager is planning talks with Sancho over his form.

“With Jadon, I’m not surprised, really,” said Southgate. “The Bundesliga is totally different, Dortmund is a big club but Manchester United is one of the biggest in the world.

“There’s some adaptation to that, there’s a definite adaptation to the league, you’re not going to get the goals and assists numbers anywhere near in our league, that you are in the Bundesliga.

“There are some very good teams but also it’s a good league for young players to develop him because there are some teams that aren’t at that level.

“Our league, every game is intense and tough and he’s probably just starting to realise that.

“Does he deserve to be in on these performances over the last few weeks? Well probably not, but I think we feel we have invested in Jadon over a period of time, we believe he can get to a high level.

“I would like some time with him to to chat with him and help that process that’s going on at Manchester United as well and I think for him to feel that we have belief in him at this point is a good message.

“So again we’re talking about there’s no perfect solution here and you could easily throw another name at me that we’ve left out in the past and say, ‘well you didn’t deal with them in the same way’.

“We try to individually do the right thing at the right time, send the right message and sometimes the right message is to leave a player out and maybe they respond and that’s the right thing but we feel with Jadon at this time it is important for us to keep him with us.”

Teenagers Mason Greenwood and Jude Bellingham were both left out of the squad as Southgate looks to manage their minutes, but the boss has insisted he wants them to be “big players for England for the long term”.

Greenwood was also overlooked for last month’s matches against Hungary, Andorra and Poland, and Southgate admitted he may have called-up the Manchester United forward too early in September 2020.

Greenwood was banished from his first England squad for breaching Covid regulations in Iceland along with Phil Foden, who also earned a recall on Thursday after missing the first international break of the season through injury.

Asked if Greenwood had been called up too soon, Southgate said: “That’s a fair challenge because we didn’t know as much about him at that point and you’re drawn by the quality of the performances and the maturity that you see on the field.

“So you’d have to say that maybe that was a bit early because he’s feeling at the moment that to establish himself at Manchester United is a big challenge and I can totally understand that.”

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