Jadon Sancho has been left out of the last England squad for the upcoming international matches against Italy and Germany, but it will likely be a blessing in disguise for both Sancho and the Three Lions just a few months into the World Cup.
Sancho has played only once for England since Euro 2020, a two-goal match against Andorra in October 2021. He hasn’t been in any team since the international break.
Even if he wasn’t always a regular starter, Sancho became a regular part of Gareth Southgate’s England setup during his time with Borussia Dortmund – although out of sight in Germany it was impossible to ignore his impressive numbers in the Bundesliga.
The main reason for the 22-year-old’s long absence was his decline after returning to England with Manchester United. Sancho arrived with great fanfare as one of the most expensive British players ever at a price of £73m, but his form at Dortmund has been hard to replicate at a club that has been largely in disarray for most of the 2021/22 season.
Sancho oddly struggled even to take a starting place at United this time last year. When he started, it was hard to make an impact in a team with low confidence – a handful of matches showed flashes of his best, such as against Chelsea, Leeds and Tottenham. The former Manchester City academy player then ended his season prematurely due to illness.
But just as with United as a whole, the arrival of Erik ten Hag marked a fresh start for Sancho. Last season he became a write-off sent to the scrap heap and now he looks like a completely different player, already just one shy of matching last season’s Premier League goal balance.
It was a surprise that Southgate did not call up Sancho this month, especially with Jarrod Bowen remaining without a goal in the Premier League so far this season, and Jack Grealish also signing despite his difficulty with Manchester City.
There is no more international football left before Southgate has to name a temporary team for the World Cup, which doesn’t give Sancho a chance to impress him directly. But the fact that he was previously a regular phone call, and thus is well known to the management, wouldn’t be surprising if he was suddenly re-enlisted for the finals…or at least he hasn’t been announced yet for the friendlies.
Omission at this point gives Sancho the extra shot to fight more for his place. He has already tasted one of the senior tournaments and will not want to wait until 2026 for a possible World Cup debut, especially now when England are also expected to do well in Qatar.
It sure is Sancho’s intention is still To return strongly to the image of England before the selection of the World Cup squad. He is well aware that performing at club level is the way to do that and he is once again beginning to show with Manchester United that he will be an asset this winter.
If he has more incentive to do well for his club to make it happen, he is resting during the international break in September in the meantime, England will have a new player ready in November… Everyone will win.