Sancho, the highly-regarded Manchester United forward, has been pictured arriving at the club’s training facility as he continues his individual programme.
The 22-year-old has not played for the Red Devils since October and remains out of contention due to struggles with both his physical and mental fitness, according to manager Erik ten Hag.
Signed from Borussia Dortmund for a hefty £73million fee in 2021, Sancho has had a difficult time at Old Trafford so far. While there were signs of improvement in pre-season under the new management, the forward got off to a slow start in the current campaign and has missed the last five Premier League matches.
In recent weeks, Sancho has been training away from Manchester, first with a club in the Netherlands before returning to Carrington this week. While he will still be on a tailored programme away from his teammates, Sancho’s return to the club is a positive sign as he looks to get back to full fitness and form.
Ten Hag has not given a timeline for Sancho’s return to the matchday squad, but has said that the player is making progress. “We want to bring him back as quickly as possible, but I can’t give a prognosis of when that will be,” the manager said last month. “Sometimes, there are circumstances with fitness and mood. We got a drop of level and sometimes you don’t know why or what is causing it. That is what we are doing now to try to get him back there. It is a combination of physically and mentally.”
To help Sancho through this difficult period, Ten Hag has enlisted the help of specialist coaches and renowned sports psychologist Rainier Koers. The ex-Ajax boss brought in Koers, an esteemed life coach, to help instill a positive spirit within the club and boost morale. “He is here continually the whole season working in the coaching staff, working with the squad but also with the staff and departments,” Ten Hag said of Koers. “That’s his job to get the right spirit in the individual and the team.”
While Sancho continues to work on his fitness, the rest of the Manchester United squad is preparing for Tuesday’s Premier League match against Bournemouth. The Red Devils currently sit in the top four thanks to a 1-0 win over Wolves on New Year’s Eve and Tottenham’s defeat a day later. Ten Hag has acknowledged that there was a lack of focus in the first half of the Wolves match, but is confident that this issue has been addressed and will not be repeated in future games.