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Man Utd boss Ten Hag makes Sancho "next step" claim ahead of Arsenal clash

Man Utd boss Ten Hag makes Sancho "next step" claim ahead of Arsenal clash

The Dutchman has provided an important update on Sancho.

Erik ten Hag has provided an update on Jadon Sancho's situation ahead of Manchester United's clash against Arsenal, after he returned to training earlier this week.

The England international hasn't featured for the Red Devils since October due to a lack of match fitness, and has struggled to deliver on his £75million price tag since moving to Manchester.

He has played just 14 times under Ten Hag and registered just five goals and three assists in his opening season.

Sancho's absence has paved the way for the likes of 18-year-old Alejandro Garnacho, who has sparkled on the wing. Whilst fellow countryman Marcus Rashford has been in fine form, managing a goal a game since his return from the World Cup.

However, Ten Hag now has a fresh update on Sancho's situation, after he returned to training at Carrington on Tuesday.

"He's making the next step"

Speaking after United's 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace on Wednesday, Ten Hag provided a brief insight into the 22-year-old's return.

When asked whether he would be fit to play against Arsenal, the Dutchman replied: "I can’t answer that question. He’s making the next step. Yesterday, he was in training for the first time - the final training session before the game. We will extend that in the coming days and go step by step."

In a separate interview with MUTV, Ten Hag was asked how pleased he was to have Sancho back in training.

The 52-year-old admitted "he still had a way to go", but stressed his importance to the side, stating: "It is the next step. He still has a way to go. He will know that, but when he makes this progress, then he can return in the group for games.

"Of course, we all hope that, because he is a great footballer. He has great skills that can help us. We have to cover so many games and we need quality players and he is definitely a quality player who can make a difference and we are expecting that from him."

Sancho's 'physical and mental' struggles

Sancho was left out of Gareth Southgate's World Cup plans, after playing a major role at the Euros. Instead, he spent the World Cup break in the Netherlands with specialist coaches, working through an individual programme away from the rest of the team.

Explaining the training programme last month, Ten Hag said: "When the league started he played some good games, but after we got a drop of levels.

"Sometimes you don't know why or what is causing it. Most of the time it comes slowly. First you observe but the stats back it up.

"In the start of the season he had goals and assists but his key moments and key actions became less and less. It's a combination of physical but also mental. We're trying to research and get him back."

Fans will hope they will see Sancho back playing soon, but Ten Hag is yet to put a date on his full return to fitness.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Manchester United, Premier League, Football, Jadon Sancho, Erik Ten Hag, Arsenal