Manchester United winger Jadon Sancho would have been hoping that Tuesday night’s Champions League clash with Young Boys was going to be his opportunity to make his mark.
The 21-year-old hasn’t burst into life in the Premier League following a £73m transfer from Borussia Dortmund. He has started only twice and didn’t play more than 72 minutes in either. As yet, there are no goals and no assists.
Europe promised a different stage. Having left Manchester City at the age of 17, Sancho had never played senior football anywhere but Germany prior to this season and Champions League can often be more forgiving than the Premier League because of it slower pace and technical focus.
Through no fault of his own, Sancho’s chance was taken away from him in Switzerland. The red card shown to Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the first half left manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a defensive hole to fill and it was Sancho who ended up being sacrificed.
Football Twitter is savage and a lack of goals and assists makes the United winger an easy target.
Fellow summer signings Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo are higher profile and more recent arrivals, but Sancho’s transfer fee was larger than both combined. It leaves him little place to hide when modern football supporters demand an increasingly instant return.
But what Sancho needs is time and to write him off already is just plain wrong.
He may be English, but the player’s time in Germany means he still has to adapt to English football. It is also worth noting that the match against Young Boys was his first start in his favoured right-wing position – the role United bought him to fill. Circumstances haven’t let him thrive.
Sooner or later, Sancho will come good. But to expect the world from a 21-year-old straightaway? Just have a little patience.