Rangnick: How I'm trying to help Sancho

Tuesday 18 January 2022 22:30

Ralf Rangnick has provided an insight into how he's trying to help Jadon Sancho produce his best form at Manchester United.

The 21-year-old winger joined the Reds last summer, from Borussia Dortmund in Rangnick's native Germany.

Sancho was nominated for the club's Player of the Month award in November, after scoring his first two United goals against Villarreal and Chelsea, but he has yet to nail down a spot in the starting XI since Ralf's appointment in early December.

However, the German has been working hard to encourage Sancho via one-to-one conversations, as he revealed ahead of our game at Brentford on Wednesday.
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“Whenever I see him train, he’s showing that he’s one of the best players in the training sessions,” explained Rangnick.
“But now it’s about transferring that to when he’s playing, and showing the same kind of level and performance on the pitch.
“I said that to him, by the way, the day before yesterday. 'Confirm the performances you show in training when you’re playing on the pitch.'”
Sancho’s versatility was legend at Dortmund, where he operated from the right, the left and even the no.10 position, with very little impact on his prolific stream of goals and assists. 
Rangnick says that any teething problems at United have little to do with what role our no.25 has been tasked with.

“For me it’s not at all a question of his position,” said Ralf. “It’s clear that in a 4-3-3 he’s a player for either of the two wing positions, either left or right. He can play both. 
“I think he would prefer a little bit the left side, because he can then switch inside and have a go on goal or shoot on goal with his strong foot. But for me, there’s no question, no doubt about his position. He’s a winger. He’s somebody who can dribble fast with ball, and for me it’s not at all a question of which is the best possible position for him.”

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Instead, the interim boss says Sancho might be taking time to adjust to the contrasting styles between the Premier League and the Bundesliga, and the expectation levels that fall upon any big-money signing for a club of United’s worldwide standing. 

“It’s difficult to say. I think it’s a different league, it’s a different competition. It’s more physical,” pondered Rangnick.
“Now he’s playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world. I think it’s also got to do with a lot of different things up here in his head. It’s a difference if you come as an 18-year-old, unknown, a talented English boy to Borussia Dortmund. From then on, you can only improve; you can only make a success out of that. The level of expectation was a lot lower compared to the situation when, at the age of 21, you come to a club like Manchester United for a high transfer fee, with a high level of expectation. 
“Everybody expected from him that he would be one of the best players in the team. Again, this is psychologically, emotionally a more challenging situation than the one he had at Borussia Dortmund, and these are exactly the kind of steps that he has to make to become a top player for the next 10 years for this club.”
Rangnick – who has extensive experience managing in the Bundesliga after spells with clubs such as Schalke, Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig – says there’s every chance that a few goals and assists will soon see the creative Sancho flourish.

“With those kinds of players, with those kinds of creative, offensive players, it’s all about confidence,” he stated. “It's about having that confidence, being aware how good they can be, and then showing it in front of 75,000 or 40 to 45,000 at Villa Park.

“Of course, in the end he has to do that. He has [to make] that step again. As I said, in most training sessions he’s training on a very high level. Now it’s about having the transfer onto the pitch in the Premier League, in the FA Cup and in the Champions League. 
“He can do that; he has the ability to do that. There is no doubt about that, but now we have to develop him into that kind of player, showing the same kind of performances that he showed at Borussia Dortmund.
“We can give him the guidelines, we can give him helping hands and show him that we are trying to accompany him on this way, and give all the necessary assistance that he needs, but in the end it’s up to him to take those next steps.”