In pictures: Man Utd v Villarreal
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Manchester United fans have been left perplexed after Gareth Southgate opted to leave Mason Greenwood out of the latest England squad in favour of Jadon Sancho. The former Borussia Dortmund man has struggled since making his summer switch, while Greenwood started the season in fine form which has raised questions about Southgate’s choices.
United’s tough outing against Villarreal on Wednesday night was the fifth in which Sancho has started and not registered a goal or assist.
His output in the Bundesliga was fantastic, regularly featuring in the European top 10 for assists which ultimately prompted the Red Devils to part with £73million.
As yet, however, his career at Old Trafford has not got off the ground, and he was given a tough time by Juan Foyth on Wednesday.
Greenwood, meanwhile, bagged three goals in his first three games of the Premier League season before Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival shook up the balance of power in attack.
Southgate claimed that the omission of Greenwood, as well as fellow youngster Jude Bellingham, was due to their age and demanding schedule.
“These are players who have a lot of games right now,” said the England boss during Thursday’s press conference.
“We have to remember these boys are still growing. We have to be very careful how we deal with them.”
One Man Utd fan, hi_randy, summed it up well on Twitter: “Find it hard to accept Southgate’s previous comments on Greenwood basically being too young.
“He’s 20 tomorrow. Saka 20, Foden, Sancho, James 21, Rice and Mount, 22. Odd really.”
Another United fan, TilleThomas, stated: “As it is, Greenwood is ahead of Martial, Sancho and Rashford to me.”
Understandably, it was not just Red Devils fans who were left perplexed, but fans of others sides who saw their own players miss out on the squad.
Everton fan Joe Williams pointed out: “Four goals or assist for Demarai Gray in six games – doesn’t get a call up. Zero goals or assists for Jadon Sancho in five games – still gets a call up. Harsh that!”
If Sancho is yet to prove his worth in a United shirt, he is yet to truly do it in an England shirt either.
However, his Bundesliga rampage with Borussia Dortmund is a reminder of his sky-high talent and potential.
Southgate’s age factor is a curious explanation given the number of young players included in the squad, but Greenwood will surely get further opportunities down the line.
As for now, Sancho could get two games with the Three Lions to restore some confidence and generate some momentum in his season.
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