Jadon Sancho has scored in back-to-back games after a stuttering start to his Manchester United and it seems both Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher have played a key part in that
If Manchester United’s Champions League triumph over Villarreal last week shone a light on Jadon Sancho’s “spark”, then Sunday’s Chelsea performance proved the touchpaper has well and truly been lit.
When the £73million summer signing from Borussia Dortmund crashed in United’s second against the Spaniards deep into injury time last Tuesday, his relief was almost palpable. It’s been a far from easy start to life at Old Trafford.
The sensational return of a certain Cristiano Ronaldo overshadowed his summer arrival before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s struggles meant Sancho found himself out of favour and on the periphery. But times are changing.
With Ole no longer at the wheel, Michael Carrick has been handed the controls temporarily and his evident faith in Sancho has been immediately rewarded.
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After pouncing on a Jorginho error to open the scoring in United’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Sancho made it back-to-back strikes in back-to-back in starts, a sure-fire sign of things to come.
But while Carrick will take all of the plaudits for bringing out the best in the 21-year-old and providing him with a new lease of life, he’s not the only former Red Devil making a concentrated effort to ensure Sancho becomes a United success.
During the winger’s 64-minute outing on Sunday, the club’s technical director Darren Fletcher was a permanent presence on the Stamford Bridge touchline, constantly coaching and barking out instructions to the men in red. In particular, he was passing on pointers to Sancho.
Having been somewhat stifled and snubbed under Solskjaer, it seems clear United as a club have learnt their lessons in failing to utilise the silky starlet with Fletcher’s personal tutelage the latest show of support.
You get the impression Sancho is a player who needs the occasional arm around the shoulder, who thrives when being given the freedom to express himself and when entrusted with the responsibilities of a star man.
At present, Fletcher and Carrick appear to be giving him the confidence and support he very much needs.
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After Sancho helped fire the Red Devils to victory in Europe last week, United’s interim manager reiterated the need for patience and the need to nurture the highly-rated winger.
“As a player, sometimes it takes a bit of time to adapt,” Carrick said. “As a younger player coming to such a big club and a new league it’s not easy just to hit the ground running. We were well aware of that.
“Of course we believe in him. The potential he has got is massive. If he can keep doing the right things and keeps himself on the right track, he’s got a great chance.
“I’m not surprised by what he did the other night. I’ve seen it in training. I’ve seen the spring in his step, and in his body language. There’s a little spark and hopefully that spark gets bigger.”
On Sunday, Sancho’s spark did exactly that. Under the watchful gaze of both Carrick and Fletcher, he made another significant step on the path to United success.
Jadon Sancho has arrived and he’s only just getting started.