Manchester United are without a regular starter on the right wing now due to the unsavory circumstances around ‘he who shall not be named’.

Even in times of chaos, there is opportunity, and United are better prepared for his unwelcome eventuality than 12 months ago.

In the summer United spent £73 million on Jadon Sancho, following a long pursuit of the Borussia Dortmund winger.

Sancho has not had a great start so far. He has been inconsistent, with only brief flashes of his quality, with goals in back to back games against Villarreal and Chelsea. Under Ralf Rangnick, he is yet to really kick on.

After missing United’s previous two games before the break due to a family bereavement, Sancho is back training with the first team squad and should be in line to start against Middlebrough this weekend.

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United’s number one option

Previously it was split between Sancho and United’s number 11, who should be United’s first choice at the right-wing position.

Now the position is quite clearly all Sancho’s. His only competitors for the spot are quite unnatural fits like Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata, two players who can play the role, but are not wingers. They will be asked to fill in at various points for rotational purposes, as could Marcus Rashford or even Paul Pogba. United though, want Sancho to step up and become undroppable.

A run of games is so important for Sancho to kick on. Such has been the competition for places at right-wing previously, he has only played the full 90 minutes in three Premier League games this season, and he is yet to do so in back to back matches.

In the Champions League, he only completed 90 minutes once, and this was the game he scored late against Villarreal.

Sancho has started only two of United’s last eight games in all competitions, and with United playing seven games in February, he needs a run of matches.

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Capable of far more

Sancho has barely scratched the surface of what he is capable of at United. Until now the pressure on Sancho has not been overbearing despite his slow start. There is nowhere to hide now.

United need a return on the investment between now and the end of the season, with right-wing suddenly a position where the club are lighter than they would like to be, with Amad and Facundo Pellistri out on loan.

In 137 appearances for Dortmund, Sancho scored 50 goals and provided 57 assists. United need to start seeing some of this.

Becoming the main man out on the right will help. Sancho wants to feel more settled, take more responsibility, and start to play a lot more regularly. This season can still be redeemed for him.

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