West Ham v Manchester United, Match in Pictures
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Manchester United icon Roy Keane has insisted that Jadon Sancho will settle in at the club despite his slow start at Old Trafford. Keane is not usually sympathetic to excuses, particularly for a player signed for £73million, but urged supporters to give the former Borussia Dortmund starlet time.
The Red Devils ended a two-year transfer pursuit to sign Sancho from Dortmund in the summer.
United have been keen to sign the forward for some time but have previously refused to give in to the Bundesliga club’s asking price. However, they finally brokered an initial £73m deal during Euro 2020.
Sancho enjoyed a fantastic record in Germany, where he moved from United’s fierce rivals Manchester City. He scored 50 goals and provided 64 assists in just 134 appearances.
But he is yet to show the same kind of form for United. The 21-year-old has not contributed either a goal or an assist in his six matches for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
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He has been offered a rare defence by United legend Keane, though. The 50-year-old might usually expect such an expensive signing to immediately contribute but instead seemed baffled by criticism of Sancho so early in his United career.
“He’ll be fine,” the former United captain said on Sky Sports.
“He’s been at the club what, two months? There’s been a lot of changes, new players coming to the club – give the kid a break.
“He’s still learning his trade, he’s still a young player, big expectations.
“He’s come to a new club where he’s certainly not going to be star man, he’ll be down the pecking order and he’s got to adapt to all that. Give him a chance.”
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Sancho’s arrival was part of a big-spending summer transfer window for United, which they culminated by securing the incredible return of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Tom Heaton and Raphael Varane were also signed. The club’s overall spend exceeded £120m.
But Keane believes Solskjaer remains short of midfield options. The former Republic of Ireland international has suggested that the Old Trafford transfer hierarchy attempt to sign West Ham midfielder Declan Rice.
Asked if Rice would improve United, Keane added: “I think he would, I think he’s improved as much as any player over the last one or two years that I’ve looked at him.
“I know he’s been linked with United and if you had asked me a year ago, I’d have said: ‘No, let’s give him a year or two [before he’s ready for the transfer],’ in terms of maturing.
I look at him and see he’s 22 – he’s way ahead of where I was at 22.
“I think the next step will come for him when he’s playing at a higher level. When he’s playing for Man Utd, playing in the Champions League, competing for trophies.
“He’s obviously a regular for England. There are a lot of plusses for him. There’s a lot more to come from him.
“He’s a big presence out there. I think it will be a really good challenge for him today because I’m not a big fan of the United midfield. I think they’re a bit short, so we will see how he does today against them.”
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