Erik ten Hag said yesterday he does not know whether exiled forward Jadon Sancho will ever play for Manchester United again.
Sancho has been banished to train away from United’s first team after the England international angered Ten Hag when he claimed he was a “scapegoat” after he was dropped for a defeat at Arsenal earlier in September.
Ten Hag has hinted it was not the only incident involving Sancho that was taken into consideration when deciding the punishment.
The 23-year-old spent part of last season training on his own in the Netherlands after Ten Hag said he was not in the right physical and mental condition to play for United.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League game against Brighton, the United boss said he did not know how long Sancho’s disciplinary procedure would last or whether he will represent United again.
Asked whether the former Borussia Dortmund star would pull on the United shirt again, Ten Hag said: “I don’t know. I am sitting here. Tomorrow we have a big game, we are going into a new block of games, many games in a condensed programme. I focus on that.”
Sancho was linked with a move to Saudi Arabia before the transfer deadline but will now remain a United player at least until the window reopens in January.
It is a startling fall from grace for Sancho, who was hailed as one of English football’s rising stars when he joined United from Dortmund in 2021.
Ten Hag was clearly irked at having to answer so many questions about Sancho on the eve of an important game for his team, who have made a disappointing start to the Premier League season.
“He is not available, so in this moment, he is not important, because he can’t contribute,” Ten Hag said.
Ten Hag, who claimed he inherited a club with “no good culture” when he took over United last year, was at pains to stress that he was not focused on Sancho.
“It’s in favour of the team. That is what my decision is based on,” he said.
“That is not about me, and to be strict. No. This is in favour of the team. I don’t think about that (Sancho’s tweet) and I don’t talk about that, because I have to win a game. It is all about that.
“The players who are there and available deserve me. I have to guide them, I have to prepare them, it is about that. I only focus on the players who are available.”