Manchester United refuse to give up on Jadon Sancho
The international break is often a positive thing for players who are struggling at their clubs. For players involved with their countries, it gives them a chance to get away and play with different team-mates and players not included in national squads get a chance to rest and recover. This international break has come at the right time for many players, including Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho, who has joined up with the England squad. Sancho will team up with the likes of Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire, who he could have been lining up alongside at club level if the summer's biggest transfer story had been resolved. Manchester United pursued the English winger for months but ultimately fell short as they failed to meet Dortmund's asking price and the 20-year-old never forced his club's hand by going on strike for a transfer, like Ousmane Dembele and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had in the past. Dortmund were delighted to keep their best player, and once again find themselves in a title race with Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga. But despite hovering around the top of the table, Sancho's presence has not been the reason for their reasonably strong start to the season. Distracted by those transfer matters all summer, the wideman has struggled to put in consistent performances this season, leading to BVB boss Michael Zorc expressing disappointment to the media. "He has had better and more efficient games," Zorc told Ruhr Nachrichten. "He's lacking a bit of natural lightness at the moment. Of course we speak to him, but it's not something you can rediscover just by talking." Sancho is usually quiet with the media and rarely gives interviews, allowing his displays on the pitch to do the talking. After some poor performances for Dortmund, the talking has returned to speculation around a move next summer. Manchester United haven't given up on Sancho, who was their top target in 2020. They are hopeful they can get him for a reduced price in 2021, but if he fails to regain the form that saw him valued at €120 million, will they be willing to meet any asking price next summer? Sancho clearly has the talent to succeed at the highest level, but United have been burned by bad signings before. He needs to get back to his best and maybe the international break with England can give him that chance. Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has also called on him to step up, believing that some of the games in Germany are easier than what he would have faced had he moved back to England. "Dortmund have some very high-level games: Champions League, Bayern Munich, Leipzig," Southgate said. But they also have a lot of games that are probably slightly below the Premier League as well. So for young players it’s a brilliant league to go into. They have an outstanding team who are constantly in the top two or three in that league, so they dominate most games and he gets a lot of the ball. There has obviously been some qualifiers with a slightly lower level of opposition and he’s had more of the ball and then he’s played in games like Holland in the Nations League, which is a really high-level game. That would have been as big a game as he’s been involved in, frankly. So he has had a balance of experiences with us, he‘s still an extremely young player, still improving. England take on Ireland on Thursday and that should offer Sancho a chance to show why Dortmund - and United - rate him so highly.