Erik ten Hag wished Jadon Sancho luck at Borussia Dortmund but would not be drawn on the winger’s long-term future following the Manchester United misfit’s temporary return to his former club.
The 23-year-old left the Bundesliga side for Old Trafford to much fanfare in 2021, joining in a £73million deal after a long, well-documented pursuit of the England international.
But Sancho has struggled to live up to the hype and been banished since claiming he had been made a “scapegoat” after Ten Hag said he did not reach the “level” required to be involved in their squad at Arsenal.
The winger has been training away from the main group since September and has now returned to Dortmund on loan for the remainder of the season without an option to buy, saying it felt like he was “coming home”.
“I hope he’s doing well, so I wish him the best of luck,” Ten Hag said. “That’s it. I hope he’s doing well and he will be a success.”
The Dutchman has been reluctant to speak about Sancho during his four-month absence and quickly shut down further talk about the United man.
Asked what Sancho has to do at Dortmund in order to get back in the United team, he replied curtly: “No, I already replied. I think it’s enough.”
Sancho followed Donny van de Beek in leaving on loan, with other peripheral players likely to follow as United’s injury issues begin to ease.
The Red Devils have been beset by problems this term, but they are easing ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash against Tottenham.
Lisandro Martinez could be involved for the first time since injuring a foot in September, while Casemiro has been out with a hamstring complaint picked up in October.
“We have had a lot of injuries,” Ten Hag said.
“This week in training, so the last couple of days, Licha Martinez training, Casemiro training, Luke Shaw training, so there are players returning. They are coming in for selection for Sunday.
“(Christian) Eriksen was ill in the week, he will return. Antony will return. Amad (Diallo) will return.
“We have more choices in this moment in the squad to put out a starting XI and to create a bench that is stronger.”
Ten Hag’s options are improving and the United boss will be hoping that is matched by an upturn in players’ form.
Antony has been particularly underwhelming after joining from Ajax for 100million euros (£84.8m) in 2022, with a slow first season following by a poor second campaign.
The Brazil international was given a leave of absence in September to deal with allegations of abuse against him that the winger has always strongly denied.
Police inquiries in Brazil and the UK are ongoing and Ten Hag believes off-field issues have had “an impact on him”.
“I can explain (his struggles),” Ten Hag, who worked with Antony at Ajax, said. “I think it’s very simple.
“I think his off-field issues stop him playing. I think first year was OK and I think in the pre-season he was very OK. First four games were very good.
“He was out and then he came back. He didn’t deliver the performance we should expect from him and he can do so much better.
“You mention Ajax, also I look back there so his effectiveness, his end product was very high there and also in the Champions League very high.
“So, I am sure he’s capable of doing this.”