EPL

Sancho doesn't deserve to be in England squad given his form – Southgate

By Sports Desk September 30, 2021

England boss Gareth Southgate admitted Jadon Sancho has been called up for international duty even though he does not deserve a place based on form.

The 21-year-old winger has struggled since his big-money move from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United, failing to register a goal or an assist in eight appearances across all competitions.

His numbers are in stark contrast to what he produced for Dortmund last season, for whom he managed 16 goals and 18 assists in 38 games across the Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB-Pokal.

Sancho was also limited to just one start and two substitute appearances as England reached the final of Euro 2020 before losing to Italy on penalties, with United's new signing also missing one of the spot-kicks after being brought on.

Southgate has still named Sancho in his 23-man England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary, however, and wants to reassure the youngster as he goes through a difficult patch.

"Does he deserve to be in [the England squad] on these performances over the last few weeks? Well, probably not," Southgate said.

"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 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."

Southgate also claimed it was only natural for Sancho to require time to adjust after moving from the German top flight to the Premier League, suggesting that it would be more difficult for him to hit the same numbers in England.

"The Bundesliga is totally different, Dortmund is a big club but Manchester United is one of the biggest in the world," Southgate continued. 

"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."

Before joining up with England, Sancho will hope to kick-start his season with a goal if he features when United face Everton on October 2, in their final game before the international break.

Related items

  • Record-breaking Liverpool delight Klopp with perfect Champions League campaign Record-breaking Liverpool delight Klopp with perfect Champions League campaign

    Jurgen Klopp hailed his record-breaking Liverpool following their 2-1 win over Milan as the Reds made it six wins from six games in the Champions League.

    Liverpool became the first English team to win all six Champions League group-stage games in a single season thanks to Tuesday's triumph at San Siro.

    Despite only Alisson, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane retaining their places in the starting XI from last week's Premier League win at Wolves, Liverpool still preserved their perfect record in Group B.

    Salah and Divock Origi struck to cancel out Fikayo Tomori's 28th-minute opener in Milan, where Liverpool were already assured of the knockout phase pre-match.

    "Honestly, I don't feel pride a lot in football because most of the time I expect good things to happen, to be honest, but tonight fills me with a lot of pride," Klopp told reporters post-match.

    "It was an exceptional performance. I don't mean that because we won six games, the reason is especially this game because it was so good. With that many changes, it's easy for me to make the changes, but in the end, the boys have to then be confident enough to show how good they are.

    "I saw so many good football things tonight, it was absolutely incredible. As a side effect, we won all the games, which is absolutely incredible and is just another chapter in the history of this wonderful group of players."

    Salah scored his 20th goal of the season in all competitions for Liverpool, in his 21st appearance – he the first player to score 20-plus goals in five consecutive campaigns for the Reds since Ian Rush (six between 1981-82 and 1986-87).

    Liverpool's Salah has been involved in 29 goals in all competitions this season (20 goals, nine assists), more than twice as many as any other Premier League player.

    Origi, meanwhile, scored his first goal in 15 Champions League games, since netting the Reds' second in their 2-0 final victory over Tottenham in June 2019.

    "In football it's all about: again and again giving everything," Origi said. "The results come by doing the right things at the right time in the right moment. Being in the moment.

    "Of course, for the outside world there's a lot of speculation but for us it's having training from tomorrow – recovery – then training again and again and again. At the end of the season we'll see how we end – but obviously we want to end in the highest way possible."

  • Van der Sar addresses Ten Hag-Man Utd links as Ajax chief hints at Old Trafford return Van der Sar addresses Ten Hag-Man Utd links as Ajax chief hints at Old Trafford return

    Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar welcomed Manchester United's rumoured interest in head coach Erik ten Hag, while he hinted at a return to the Red Devils.

    Ten Hag has been linked with Premier League giants United, who are eyeing a long-term manager following the interim appointment of Ralf Rangnick until the end of the season.

    Ajax's Ten Hag has impressed in his time in Amsterdam, where the 51-year-old has delivered two Eredivisie titles and embarked on a memorable run to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals.

    Ten Hag's men have been the entertainers of Europe this term, dazzling their way into the Champions League round of 16, becoming the first Dutch side in history to win all six of their group-stage games in a campaign following Tuesday's 4-2 victory over Sporting CP.

    Ajax have also won six consecutive matches in the European Cup/Champions League for the first time in their illustrious history.

    Van der Sar was asked about the speculation regarding Ten Hag prior to the Group C fixture in Amsterdam.

    "This means that we are doing something well," Van der Sar told RTL7 pre-game. "It's the same with the players. When we perform well, the interest comes.

    "If there is interest in our players or coach… we've all been blown away in the past. So be it, we have to make sure we're ready by then, that the lists are filled in."

    Former United goalkeeper Van der Sar has also been linked with a move to Old Trafford, where the 51-year-old won four Premier League titles and the Champions League among other honours between 2005 and 2011.

    Van der Sar has held the role of Ajax CEO since 2016 and he responded to the rumours by saying: "I am enjoying myself so much at Ajax, I still have two years left here.

    "I want to keep achieving things here with the club. But I am sure that one day the moment will arrive."

    Van der Sar added: "I think it's really cool to be part of the club like this, because you don't do this alone and not just this year, but in the past 10 years.

    "I still have two years to go. I don't think we're done at the club here yet. I think we can still grow in the Netherlands, but especially internationally. That's the challenge. And that seems even more cool for now."

  • Ten Hag hails 'outstanding' achievement after Ajax and Haller make Champions League history Ten Hag hails 'outstanding' achievement after Ajax and Haller make Champions League history

    Erik ten Hag lauded Ajax's "outstanding achievement" after the high-flying Dutch giants capped their group-stage campaign with more Champions League history.

    Ajax made it six wins from six games in Group C following Tuesday's 4-2 victory over fellow last-16 bound outfit Sporting CP in Amsterdam.

    With the triumph, Ajax became the first Dutch team to win all six of their games in a single Champions League group-stage campaign.

    Ajax also won six consecutive matches in the European Cup/Champions League for the first time in their illustrious history.

    Ten Hag's men have swept all before them in Europe this season and the Manchester United-linked head coach hailed Ajax.

    "To win one match in the [UEFA] Champions League is difficult enough, but to win six in a row is an outstanding achievement," Ten Hag said.

    "The intensity was good throughout the match this evening. You saw that in the pressure we put on them which led to the second goal by Antony."

    Sebastien Haller broke a Champions League record held by Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland when he gave Ajax the lead against Sporting, matching another feat previously only ever achieved by superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Haller took his tally this term to 10 goals in six appearances – making him the quickest player to reach double figures in a Champions League career after Haaland had previously managed to so in seven matches.

    Ivory coast international Haller also became the first player to score in each of his opening six games in the competition.

    Haller is only the second player in Champions League history to score in all six matches of a single group stage after Ronaldo in 2017-18, while the former West Ham and Eintracht Frankfurt forward is only the second Ajax player to score 10-plus goals in a single season of the premier club competition following Soren Lerby in 1979-80.

    "There is no secret [to our success]. It’s just a matter of working hard, together. The coach tells us everything we should know. And then we just try to stay focused," Haller told UEFA.com.

    "Of course I didn't expect it [to score ten times in six matches], especially in my first games. The only thing you want to do is perform well, and be in the flow of the game. Ten goals was not in my dreams. So I can be happy and proud today."

    Haller added: "The way we train every day, the way we think; we always want to play well and perform. Even at the end of the game you could see that.

    "We're really happy with the energy and focus we put into the game, and we just hope that the next game will be the same."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.