Man Utd boss Ten Hag drops worrying Sancho update ahead of Everton clash
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Erik ten Hag has admitted Jadon Sancho is still "not fit enough" to play for Manchester United but says he is prepared to be patient with the England international.
Sancho, 22, has failed to impress since joining United in a £73m move from Borussia Dortmund in 2021.
After managing only five goals in his debut season at Old Trafford, it was expected that Sancho would kick on this campaign under the guidance of Ten Hag.
But the winger has continued to struggle and has not featured for United since the 1-1 draw with Chelsea on October 22.
Sancho did not travel with the rest of the United squad on their tour of Spain during the recent winter break.
Instead, he travelled to the Netherlands to work with coaches on his fitness after being given an individual training programme by Ten Hag.
The Dutch manager has confirmed Sancho is not yet ready to return to first-team football but says United will continue to work with the England star to help him recapture his form.
Ten Hag: Sancho is still not fit enough
"I would like to have Jadon back as soon as possible. But also in this, I can't force this process,” said Ten Hag.
"So I will do everything that's in my power but some processes you can't force and this is one of them so I also have to show patience although I don't have the patience because yeah, you are right, we have a lack of opportunities in the front line."
"We have some hurdles to take but I think he is [going] in a good direction," added the Manchester United manager.
"I can't force this process so I will be really happy in the moment he is returning in the squad for team training - that will be the next step."
When asked if Sancho could return to competitive action soon, Ten Hag said: "In this moment he is not fit enough, no."
He went on to explain his decision to separate Sancho from the rest of the United squad over the winter break, after the winger missed out on a place in England's World Cup squad.
"I think any top athletes, in football but also in any sports, sometimes it is good to go away from the place where you are at daily to get a new vibe, to get experience," said Ten Hag.
"People have a different approach and can give you the right push to get back on track."
"Football players are not robots," he added.
"No one is the same and for everyone you need a different approach and we thought, in co-operation with Jadon, it was the best choice."
Sancho has been ruled out of Friday's FA Cup third round tie against Everton and is also expected to miss the Carabao Cup quarter-final against Charlton on Tuesday.
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Topics: Manchester United, Jadon Sancho, Football, Premier League