Erik ten Hag has warned fans that Manchester United will not be rushing Jadon Sancho back to action, calling for patience as they work with the England international away from the spotlight.
The 22-year-old has not played for United since October and, after missing out on a spot at the World Cup, has since been placed on an individual training regime which has included brief involvements in group sessions.
While Ten Hag has been crying out for attacking reinforcements in the January transfer window, he stressed that rushing Sancho back to competitive action is not under consideration and no time frame has been put on his return.
“I would like to have Jadon back as soon as possible, but I can’t force this process,” Ten Hag said. “I will do everything that’s in my power but some processes you can’t force and this is one of them.
“I also have to show patience although I don’t have patience because we have a lack of opportunities in the front line, players who are available and capable to contribute not only in the Premier League but on the highest standard in football.
“Jadon is one who, when he is fit, he will contribute and we will have an extra option and so we have more chance to win a lot of games.”
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Asked for an update on Sancho’s condition, Ten Hag admitted he has seen improvements from the winger but confessed he is not yet ready for competitive action.
“With the physical, there’s also a connection of mental,” Ten Hag continued. “I think he’s now making good progress on the physical part and that will help him.
“I hope he can return quickly but I can’t say how long it will be. In this moment, he is not fit enough, no.
“We have some hurdles to take. I think he’s (heading) in a good direction. I can’t force this process so I don’t do. I would be really happy in the moment if he returned in the squad for team training, that’s the next step.”
The United boss added: “Football players are not robots. No one is the same, I think for everyone you need an individual approach.
“Sometimes it’s good to go away from the place where you’re at daily and to get a new fight and spirit. People have a different approach and that can give you the right push to get back on track.”