Erik ten Hag stated on Friday that he does not know if banished forward Jadon Sancho will ever play again for Manchester United.
Sancho has been barred from training with United’s first squad after angering Ten Hag by claiming he was a “scapegoat” after being dropped for a defeat against Arsenal earlier in September.
Ten Hag has intimated that this was not the only event involving Sancho that was considered while determining the punishment.
After Ten Hag stated that he was not in the ideal physical and mental condition to play for United, the 23-year-old spent part of last season practicing on his own in the Netherlands.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Premier League match against Brighton, United manager Jose Mourinho stated that he did not know how long Sancho’s disciplinary proceedings would take or whether he would ever play for United again.
Asked whether the former Borussia Dortmund star would pull on the United shirt again, Ten Hag said: “I don’t know. I am sitting here. Tomorrow we have a big game, we are going into a new block of games, many games in a condensed programme. I focus on that.”
Sancho was linked with a move to Saudi Arabia before the deadline, but he will now remain a United player at least until the transfer window reopens in January.
It’s a shocking fall from grace for Sancho, who was heralded as one of England’s rising talents when he joined United from Dortmund in 2021.
Ten Hag was clearly irritated by having to field so many questions about Sancho on the eve of a crucial game for his squad, who have had a dismal start to the Premier League season.
“He is not available, so in this moment, he is not important, because he can’t contribute,” Ten Hag said.
Ten Hag, who claimed he inherited a club with “no good culture” when he took over United last year, was at pains to stress that he was not focused on Sancho.
“It’s in favour of the team. That is what my decision is based on,” he said.
“That is not about me, and to be strict. No. This is in favour of the team. I don’t think about that (Sancho’s tweet) and I don’t talk about that, because I have to win a game. It is all about that.
“The players who are there and available deserve me. I have to guide them, I have to prepare them, it is about that. I only focus on the players who are available.”