Former Manchester United winger Ben Thornley believes Jadon Sancho is beginning to display the confidence required to make a name for himself at Old Trafford.
After joining the club in a £72.9million move from Borussia Dortmund back in July, Sancho, who was a long-term target for United, has struggled to make the impact that he would have hoped for so far this season.
So far, Sancho has scored just three goals in 25 appearances in all competitions, highlighting that United are yet to see a return on their investment.
However, the winger, who will be hoping to star for England at the World Cup in Qatar later this year, has shown signs of life in United’s last two outings, producing encouraging performances against both Middlesbrough, whom he scored against, and Burnley.
For former United man Thornley, who played for the club between 1993 and 1998, something has clicked for Sancho in order to help him raise his game.
“He seems to have gained his confidence,” Thornley told United’s club website. “Obviously, United fans are very forgiving, either for someone promoted from the youth team, they seem to give them a little bit of an elongated stay if you like, but also the new players that come in.
“It’s because they’re so desperate for them to do well. After a while, though, this might fade but his form has been great.
“There was a little bit of a worrying spell for Sancho and even things that were second nature to him in Germany were proving more difficult here. All of sudden, I don’t know what the catalyst has been for that, maybe the brilliant goal at Chelsea, but I don’t think there was ever any doubt he’s got the inclination, the skill and mindset to want to succeed.”
Although United have failed to win each of their last two games, both of which were from a winning position, United, in an attacking sense, have carried a far greater threat, and ought to have scored more than just the two goals they did.
If United continue in that vein, Thornley believes Sancho will begin to increase his levels of attacking output.
Thornley continued: “At the moment, he’s bringing it, everything he’s got in his armory, and is showing Manchester United fans and his team-mates just what he’s capable of.
“If we get all 11 of them performing like they did on Friday night and in the first half last night [vs Burnley] for 90 minutes, it’ll double his output. He’ll stay on the field and be more regularly involved and is bound to create more goals and score more goals.
“I think it is confidence and the thing is you can see is he’s not as ready or as quick to get rid of the football, like he once was.
“He wants to hold onto it and draw defenders towards him, beat defenders and, whether he uses his team-mates or does it on his own with a bit of skill, we love seeing it.
“It’s what it’s about having wingers in the team, to excite people and get them out of their seats.”
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