Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has “gone too far” in his treatment of Jadon Sancho, according to former Premier League midfielder Andy Townsend.
The 23-year-old is training away from the first team as a disciplinary measure after claiming on social media that he had been made a “scapegoat” following his omission from the squad for the defeat at Arsenal at the beginning of September.
Ten Hag hinted that it was not just this misstep that was taken into consideration when deciding the punishment, though repeatedly declined the opportunity to speak about Sancho when asked at his press conferences.
The episode bears similarity to the way Cristiano Ronaldo – who is currently the highest paid player in the world – was jettisoned out of the club after his explosive interview with Piers Morgan last year and Ten Hag has previously said he did not know how long Sancho’s disciplinary procedure would last or whether he will represent Man Utd again.
It’s understood that he’s banned from all first-team facilities, including the canteen, while he uses his own dressing room. And former Aston Villa and Chelsea defender Townsend reckons Ten Hag has taken his punishment of Sancho far enough.
Speaking on talkSPORT, Townsend said: “It’s gone daft.
“I don’t agree with what Jadon Sancho has done, and I stand by that. But, I mean, crikey, you might as well say to the kid, ‘don’t even come in’. It’s ridiculous.”
Reacting to Sancho having to eat lunch away from the other first-team players at Man Utd, Townsend said: “I’m surprised you’re actually allowed to get away with [the punishment he’s been given].
“I’m surprised someone from the PFA hasn’t turned around and said. ‘hold on a minute’.
“It’s one thing to not like him or you don’t want him but you can’t just banish the guy completely from one side of the club to the other just because of an obvious disagreement.
“It has gone a little too far now I think.”
Jamie O’Hara previously had similarly strong feelings about the situation with the former Tottenham midfielder branding the treatment of Sancho “digusting”.
“I think it’s disgusting what they’re doing to him,” O’Hara previously said on talkSPORT.
“I know he’s come out and made a statement, whether that was the right thing to do or not… but was it right of Ten Hag to dig him out when he wasn’t even involved with the group?
“We all know Jadon Sancho needs to be better on the football pitch. And how he does that is getting him back playing football, getting him training and enjoying his football.
“What they’re doing to him right now is never going to get Jadon Sancho back to his best.
“All you’re going to do is mentally damage the football player and make him feel worse than he already does. They should be ashamed of themselves.”