Sunday was a tough day for Manchester United and its supporters. The Red Devils, not off to the best start in 2023/24, lost in heartbreaking fashion to Arsenal — they conceded the go-ahead goal to Declan Rice in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time, and Gabriel Jesus added the third and final goal for the Gunners’ with a breakaway strike in the 11th minute of stoppages.
But what happened after the game will be of great concern to United and its fans, as one of the club’s most expensive players — left out of the matchday squad — has started a public feud with head coach Erik Ten Hag.
Sancho: “I’ve been a scapegoat for a long time”
After full-time, Ten Hag revealed to the media that Jadon Sancho was not selected for the Arsenal game because of his subpar performances in training — which raised eyebrows in and of itself.
Sancho, a $90 million signing from Borussia Dortmund in 2021, has struggled for consistency since returning to his native England, scoring just nine goals in 58 appearances in the Premier League. He felt the need to respond shortly after Ten Hag’s comments went viral, and he tweeted a two-paragraph statement drafted in his phone’s Notes app.
“I will not allow people saying things that (are) completely untrue, I have conducted myself in training very well this week,” Sancho said. “I believe there are other reasons for this matter that I won’t go into, I’ve been a scapegoat for a long time which isn’t fair!”
Sancho’s uncertain future
Sancho‘s explosive statement will be allowed to fester over the upcoming international break. He was not called up for England duty, and it remains to be seen how Ten Hag — known for being a decisive coach and a strong character — will respond to his player’s remarks.
Sancho has played only 79 minutes across three substitute appearances this season, and it is easy to see the 23-year-old’s fight for minutes get steeper from here. A transfer within Europe will be impossible to sort out until January — and while the Turkish and Saudi windows remain open, nothing has emerged linking Sancho with a move to either of those country’s top leagues.