Jadon Sancho the big winner of Solskjaer’s Man Utd exit after Villarreal impact

After 14 frustrating matches, Jadon Sancho finally opened his Manchester United account with a well deserved goal in the team’s 2-0 win over Villarreal on Tuesday night

Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to playTap to playThe video will auto-play soon8CancelPlay nowVillarreal v Manchester United: Match in PicturesByFelix Keith

  • 04:30, 24 Nov 2021
  • |
  • comments

Jadon Sancho may wish that his Manchester United career started on November 23, rather than July 23.


When Sancho signed for United he wasn’t just switching countries and teams, he was taking on the heavy burden of expectancy.

United had chased his signature for some time. The club’s fans had plenty of time to hype his arrival.

Here was the answer to all their prayers: a talented, young, exciting winger with a proven track record in terms of goals and assists.

Sancho cost £72million. He is the club’s fourth most expensive player of all time, behind only Harry Maguire, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku.

Jadon Sancho finally got his first goal for Manchester United on Tuesday

David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

His form with Borussia Dortmund suggested he was worth it. Sancho contributed 50 goals and 64 assists in 137 games, after all.

But after a chastening Euro 2020 final with England and an extended holiday, Sancho arrived at Old Trafford a very different player to the one United supporters were expecting.

The 21-year-old was struggling with an ear infection then soon picked up a calf injury. When he was fit, he was frequently on the bench, alongside Donny van de Beek and Jesse Lingard, as Solskjaer struggled to keep everyone happy in his bloated squad.

Michael Carrick concedes Man Utd were forced to play ugly to win against Villarreal

Paul Scholes sends Jadon Sancho message to next Man Utd manager

Before Tuesday night’s trip to face Villarreal, Sancho had gone 14 games for United without picking up a goal or an assist for United. He endured 654 minutes of frustration.

Solskjaer’s sacking opened the door for Sancho. In his pre-match interview with BT Sport on Tuesday Carrick promised a “fresh start” for United’s players.

That was backed up by his starting XI, which included four changes and saw Sancho, Van de Beek, Alex Telles and Anthony Martial brought in from the cold.

Michael Carrick has brought Donny van de Beek and Jadon Sancho in from the cold

David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

While the other three failed to make much of an impact, it was to be a night of redemption for Sancho.

Initially it looked like it was not to be; that his bright performance, with a few darting runs and promising crosses, would peter out into nothing substantive.

Sancho exchanged passes with Bruno Fernandes and cut inside to open up a shooting chance, only for Geronimo Rulli to save with his feet.

Harry Maguire lifts lid on Michael Carrick half-time talk that led to first Man Utd goal

Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand agree on Man Utd manager decision amid 'two big problems'

Cristiano Ronaldo’s winner – a well-taken lob after Villarreal surrendered possession – then made sure of progression to the last-16 of the Champions League. But something was missing to make it a real feel-good night for the visitors.

That changed in the 90th minute when United sprang forward for one last time through Marcus Rashford.

The ball made its way across the penalty area to Sancho on the right-hand side. With his confidence back, he simply took a touch and blasted the ball towards goal, before looking up to see it hit the underside of the bar and bounce down into the net.

HAVE YOUR SAY! Will Jadon Sancho become a key player for Manchester United this season? Comment below.

Jadon Sancho blasted in off the underside of the bar

Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

The celebrations with his team-mates showed what it meant to him and the team, while messages of support from Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham, among others, followed on Twitter.

After the match, Carrick echoed what everyone else had thought – that this match could be the start of Sancho’s United career.

"It's up to Jadon what happens next, how he kicks on, he has all the talent in the world,” Carrick said in his post-match press conference.

“He'll feel better tonight after how he played. It was a big goal for him."

While the pre-match conversation in the BT Sport studio had all been about the mess United had got themselves into under Solskjaer, the post-match chat was different.

"I think he was Manchester United's best player tonight. They need to use him more,” Paul Scholes said. "He looks like the player we signed for £70 odd million."

Jadon Sancho’s Manchester United career did officially start on July 23. But, after 14 disappointing appearances, it can finally spark into life from November 23.

Read More

5 changes Michael Carrick made to Man Utd including new Cristiano Ronaldo role

Read More

Erik ten Hag responds to speculation linking him with Man Utd job

Most Read

  • Don’t Miss

  • Follow MirrorFacebookTwitter

    Comment MORE ON Paul ScholesChampions LeagueManchester United FCJadon SanchoOle Gunnar SolskjaerMichael Carrick

    Who do United need to sign to mount a title challenge? Get our daily Manchester United email newsletter

    Sign me up!Invalid EmailSomething went wrong, please try again later.We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More infoThank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourPrivacy NoticeMost Read