Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has said he does not know when winger Jadon Sancho will return to the first-team squad, with the 22-year-old currently not in the right physical or mental state.
Sancho is not with the United squad on a two-match tour of Spain preparing for the return of the Premier League later this month following the end of the World Cup in Qatar.
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Instead, Ten Hag said, Sancho is in the Netherlands working individually with coaches in attempt to get him back in playing shape.
“He’s not fit enough,” Ten Hag told reporters in Spain. “We didn’t see him in the last games for United as he wasn’t in the right fitness state and he is now on an individual programme.
“We want him to finish that and hopefully see him back soon. We want to bring him back as quickly as possible but I can’t give a prognosis of when that will be.”
Sancho has struggled to make a consistent impact at Old Trafford since his £73 million transfer from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2021.
While he made an encouraging start to this season, scoring three goals in his first eight appearances across the Premier League and Europa League, his form tailed off in October before illness ruled him out of the club’s final four games before the World Cup break.
“He was good [in pre-season] but also when the league started he played some good games like Liverpool, Leicester and Arsenal,” Ten Hag added. “After we got a drop of level and what happens sometimes you don’t know why or what is causing it.
“That is what we’re doing now, trying to research and now we try to get him back there. It’s a combination of physical but also mental.”
Sancho’s decline in form meant that he lost his place in the England squad and was not selected by coach Gareth Southgate for the World Cup, despite featuring at the European Championships last year.
“There’s huge competition with England,” he said. “Even at the World Cup, every game is difficult to know who to start because there’s so much talent in the offensive line.
“When you don’t show it week by week you can fall out of the squad, which is what happened.”
Man United lost both their friendlies in Spain, against Cadiz and Real Betis. They will return to competitive action at home to Burnley in the Carabao Cup on Dec. 21.