Erik ten Hag wants Jadon Sancho to apologise for his social media post claiming to have been “made a scapegoat for a long time” before the winger is allowed to return to first-team training.
United said on Thursday that Sancho is currently on a “personal training programme” pending a resolution of a “squad discipline issue”.
Ten Hag is not prepared to back down and won’t allow his authority to be challenged. He wants Sancho to apologise to him and the club.
Sancho was left out of United’s matchday squad for the trip to Arsenal on Sunday September 3, with manager Ten Hag explaining afterwards that the decision was due to poor training performances.
Later the same evening, the 23-year-old claimed he had been “a scapegoat for a long time” in a social media post and said Ten Hag’s claims were “completely untrue”.
Following the online outburst, Sancho was linked with a shock move to Saudi Arabia on loan but ended up staying at Old Trafford, amid planned talks between him and the coaching staff this week.
The post was deleted on Tuesday but only after it had been viewed more than 60m times.
There is some sympathy for Sancho within the United camp but not for the way he has gone about things.
Some players think Sancho has been training well since the summer and shouldn’t be singled out for criticism, but no one thinks he should have challenged the manager in public.
Senior executives have been brought in to sort out the issue between the player and the manager.
This is not the first time England international Sancho has been excluded from United training under Ten Hag, with the winger undergoing an individual fitness programme in the Netherlands last season which saw him watch the World Cup from afar.
During that period, Sancho did not play for United between October 22 and February 1 but did play in the Carabao Cup final win over Newcastle upon his return and ended last season with seven goals and three assists for United.
Sancho’s latest absence from the first-team group raises concerns about their numbers in the right-wing position, with Antony delaying his return back to the club training amid allegations of assault. The Brazilian winger has been placed on a leave of absence on full pay and is not suspended.
Ahead of Man Utd’s game with Brighton on Saturday, Alejandro Garnacho and Facundo Pellistri are the only recognised wide options alongside Marcus Rashford, who normally operates from the left and central positions.
What Ten Hag and Sancho said about each other
“On his performance on training we didn’t select him,” Ten Hag said when asked about Sancho’s absence from the squad against Arsenal.
“You have to reach the level every day at Manchester United. You can make choices in the front line, so in this game he wasn’t selected.”
But following Ten Hag’s comments in the post-match press conference, Sancho issued a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying: “Please don’t believe everything you read!
“I will not allow people saying things that is completely untrue,” Sancho posted. “I have conducted myself in training very well this week.
“I believe there are other reasons for this matter that I won’t get into, I’ve been a scapegoat for a long time which isn’t fair!
“All I want to do is to play football with a smile on my face and contribute to my team.”
What’s next for Manchester United?
Manchester United return to Old Trafford the day before for the visit of Brighton. Kick-off 3pm.