Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has responded to Gareth Southgate over the form of Manchester United and England forward Jadon Sancho.
Sancho has endured a slow start to life in the Premier League, the 21-year-old still awaiting his first goal or assist after 402 minutes across eight appearances.
Some might have expected that to have an impact on his international prospects but Southgate named Sancho in his England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary.
Southgate described Sancho as lucky to be picked based on form.
“Does he deserve to be in on these performances over the last few weeks? Well probably not,” Southgate said.
“But I think we feel we have invested in Jadon over a period of time, we believe he can get to a high level. I would like some time with him to chat with him and help that process that’s going on at Manchester United as well.
“I think for him to feel that we have belief in him at this point is a good message.”
Solskjaer seemed perturbed by the suggestion that Sancho is not quite at his best, pointing to an apparently improved performance in the Champions League win over Villarreal.
“Was that interview done before Wednesday night?” he asked of comments the England manager made on Thursday afternoon.
“Jadon was exceptional, he was electric. The crowd loved him and I think he felt that connection. He was direct, positive, he went past the full-back numerous times.
“Yes, he’s not scored yet but I thought ‘that’s Jadon and we’re going to see lots of that’.
“Gareth has also said it’s important that Jadon knows (England) believe in him and are invested in him.”
Solskjaer also discussed the international future of Mason Greenwood, again left out of the England squad as Southgate seeks to protect the forward.
“Gareth had a frank conversation with Mason and his family and they know the situation,” he said. “He also knows Mason is really keen on playing for England.
“Gareth is understanding that the boy is only 20 – he turned 20 today. He’s going to be a top player for England and for Manchester United but he has to be managed in the right way.
“It gives us a chance to work on his fitness but also to give him a rest because he has been playing in many, many games at a high intensity.”
- Sancho finally swaps Dortmund for Man Utd in £73m transfer
- Solskjaer reveals Lingard’s ‘priority’ as Varane resumes training
- Southgate reveals changes in Sancho since Man Utd news