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Aftermath of Arsenal’s win over Man Utd, Sancho reacts to comments by Erik ten Hag and says he is a ‘scapegoat’

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Premier League - Manchester United v Fulham - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - May 28, 2023 Manchester United's Jadon Sancho celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag said Jadon Sancho was dropped for the Premier League game at Arsenal on Sunday because of below-par displays in training, sparking an angry reaction from the winger in a social media post in which he claimed he was being made a “scapegoat.”

 

The 23-year-old Sancho did not travel to north London for the match at Emirates Stadium, where two stoppage-time goals by Arsenal consigned United to a 3-1 loss.

Ten Hag said after the match that Sancho, who came off the bench in United’s first three matches of the season, was left out because of “his performances in training.”

“You have to reach a level every day at Manchester United and we can make choices in the front line,” the Dutch coach said. “So for this game he was not selected.”

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Sancho took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to say he has “conducted myself in training very well this week” and he didn’t want to let “people saying things that (are) completely untrue.”

“I believe there are other reasons for this matter that I won’t go into,” Sancho wrote. “l’ve been a scapegoat for a long time which isn’t fair!

“All I want to do is play football with a smile on my face and contribute to my team. I respect all decisions that are made by the coaching staff, I play with fantastic players and (am) grateful to do so which I know every week is a challenge. I will continue to fight for this badge no matter what!”

Sancho has struggled for consistent form since moving to Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund in 2021.

He did not feature from Oct. 22 until Feb. 1 last season, a period that saw him watch the World Cup from afar and undertake an individual winter fitness program in the Netherlands.

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-AP

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Premier League

Another Nigerian blood replaces Ndidi at Leicester

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Wilfred Ndidi who has just left Leicester City will have another Nigerian blood replacing him.

Leicester has never been without a Nigerian since Ahmed Musa joined in 2016. Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho joined in 2017.

Another Nigerian blood, Caleb Okoli, a centre back, has just been signed from Italian  Serie A side Atalanta on a five-year contract. Born in Itali, Caleb Okoli is Igbo and Yoruba by descent.

The 22-year-old, who spent the last season on loan at Frosinone Calcio, represented Italy at the European Under-21 Championship last year.

“I think now is the right moment (for me) to make a step forward and a very big one. I’m very happy with the choice I made, so I’m very excited to start in the Premier League,” Okoli said in a statement. The clubs did not disclose financial details of the deal.

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Ruud van Nistelrooy returns to Man United

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United legend Van Nistelrooy is expected to be announced as one of Erik ten Hag's assistants

Manchester United legend, Ruud van Nistelrooy has been spotted being driven into Carrington, the training ground of Manchester United.

Ruud van Nistelrooy (left) and Rene Hake arrived at Manchester United’s training ground

Reports have it that the Dutchman is set to be appointed as one of Erik ten Hag’s new assistant coaches.

He played for Manchester United from 2001 to 2006.

Now  48, he reportedly turned down job offer from Burnley to return to his old club, having previously led PSV Eindhoven to second place in the Eredivisie and victory in the Dutch Cup.

He is being joined by Rene Hake, 52, who was persuaded to give up his job as Go Ahead Eagles manager despite leading the Deventer-based club into Europe for only the third time in their history.

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Chelsea make improved offer for Victor Osimhen

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Chelsea have increased their efforts to lure long-term target and Super Eagles striker, Victor Osimhen, to Stamford Bridge.

According to TEAMtalk, Chelsea is prepared to include Romelu Lukaku and Cesare Casadei in a deal with Napoli to reduce the cost of acquiring Osimhen.

In December, the 25-year-old forward extended his contract with Napoli following a stellar season, committing to stay at the Diego Maradona Stadium until 2026.

Despite being linked with potential transfers to Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, and other elite teams, recent events have changed the landscape.

Earlier reports claimed Chelsea withdrew due to concerns about his injury history, PSG failed to attract his interest, and Arsenal was unable to afford his release clause. As a result, the Super Eagles star was expected to remain at Napoli.

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However, recent reports confirm that the Blues are willing to proceed with the deal regardless. Lukaku is interested in a switch to join Antonio Conte at Napoli, while Osimhen is keen on a move to the English Premier League.

While there have been no comments from Osimhen’s camp or Chelsea, this summer transfer window is anticipated to be one of the hottest, with Man United, Chelsea, and Arsenal set to lock horns for Osimhen’s signature.

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