Football

Manchester United: Why Jadon Sancho will be the team’s best player in the 2022/23 campaign

22 Jul 2022 | 08:40

It’s no secret that Jadon Sancho did not feature in his first year at Manchester United.

Given the management problems at the club, the team’s poor performances, and the lack of players of his same wavelength in the squad last season, it’s no surprise that he did not play well. what changes have been made to the product line.

The 22-year-old was brought in from Borussia Dortmund to solve the long-standing problems the team was having on the right flank.

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spent half of the season using him on the left flank without providing him with the support he needed in the role, which is something Michael Carrick and Ralf Rangnick have smarted in their time. their manager at the club.

Left-back Luke Shaw has had a poor season and hasn’t helped his teammates in either halves of the pitch, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s knack for dropping deep or widening left to gain possession is hindering his vision. Sancho’s influence on ball possession and player performance. to attack quickly.

This resulted in the winger being marked by two to three players, without guidance from teammates.

Above all, United played attacking football through quick moments rather than with composure and patience.

This doesn’t help a player like Sancho, a brilliant player who wants to wait for an opening to appear in the last third of the pitch, whether it’s by timing the pass just seconds after the defense didn’t stay in good shape by leaving full-backs. committed to him down the line of contact.

He is capable of creating 3-5 big chances per game in a proper system.

His style of play is more unique than someone like Marcus Rashford. The former player had a rough childhood, which has helped him become the technically safe player he is today.

Bringing a tennis reference to the duo’s comparison, Sancho is a hardcore player on the court, one who is very agile, full of cunning and possesses many different types of skills.

Then you have Rashford, a clay-court expert, an individual who thrives on his strength who can go long distances and play in a straight line, but his weakness will show in the game. playing on his grid, due to his lack of technical ability for short rallies and his lack of ability to react to quick fire moments.

Despite a disappointing year in the 2021/22 season, playing under three different coaches, the talented winger from Camberwell, South London, still ticks the right boxes statistically.

He’s in the 95th percentile for the progressive take, at the 96th percentile for the final third, and at the 99th percentile for the completed nutmeg, when compared to the rest. of attacking midfielders and wingers in Europe’s top five leagues, suggesting that the best is yet to really come from him.

Now, under new coach Erik ten Hag, Sancho is expected to be the team’s best player throughout the 2022/23 campaign.

The England international has shown positive signs in pre-season games, forming a growing relationship with Anthony Martial and Diogo Dalot, which has allowed him to play to his strengths and still have affect the game, as both players provide the ideal link-up play and move on and off the ball, to complement each other.

The former Ajax and Utrecht coach has a tactical setup that includes overwhelming ball control and plenty of attacking movement in the final third of the pitch.

This is something United shamefully lacked last season, which prevented Sancho from making an immediate impact and resulted in the team playing football at a slow and predictable pace.

Ten Hag’s presence at Old Trafford will provide the environment Sancho needs, to develop to world class.

United supporters have seen plenty of off-ball moves by players ahead of this season, with the likes of Dalot, Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay making the necessary runs as the ball approaches. Sancho’s feet.

This allows the receiver, to either make an immediate pass to a running player or use the running player as bait and steer the ball in another direction, to successfully catch an opponent off-guard.

Another feature of Sancho’s game was his ability to switch to the left wing in and out of the game, helping him score the winning goal against Liverpool in a recent friendly.

This helps Ten Hag and United in the long run, especially if Rashford is injured or suspended, Sancho can adapt to the opposite wing without having to change the game.

He could build a dominant partnership with Shaw on the left wing, who is currently working his way back into 2020/21 form.

Next season’s line-up will see players selected based on their technical ability and smart moves, rather than the massive reputation they carry at the club.

So it should come as no surprise to see the likes of Donny van de Beek, Hannibal Mejbri and Tyrell Malacia spending a lot of time alongside Sancho, confident individuals capable of being on both sides of the game. play.

Overall, with Ten Hag’s aggressive play style and system, Sancho will finish the 2022/23 season as the team’s best player.

He’s the type of operator that likes to play through consistent combinations, simple and effective patterns, and potentially dangerous on the flanks.

If United achieves success in the next few years, Sancho will be a big contributor to it, someone who can create goals and assists while also being able to bring out everyone’s potential.