‘Those were his reasons’ – Jadon Sancho’s stubborn refusal to apologise to Erik ten Hag explained by Man Utd coach Benni McCarthy


The England international’s relationship with United manager Erik ten Hag deteriorated after the Dutchman publicly criticised Sancho’s training efforts. Sancho was then exiled from the first-team squad and relegated to training with the academy players, a move see by many as a harsh disciplinary measure. Sancho claimed in public that he was being made a “scapegoat” as he felt that the manager continued to back underperforming players ahead of him. The comments did not go down well with Ten Hag and he was ultimately shipped out on loan in the January transfer window.


In an interview with 947 Joburg, Benni McCarthy, a member of United’s coaching staff, explained why Sancho refused to apologise to Ten Hag: “I spoke to the manager and I said to him that you know the delicacy and I think Jadon feels that if he apologises then he’s going to be classed as someone who doesn’t train hard, that doesn’t work hard, who that everything that was said against him was true and if you are from the streets, no one wants to apologise, you admit you are not training well, you are lazy, everything you are accused of. Jadon wasn’t going to have that. The manager just said that all he wants is an apology.”

For Sancho, apologising would mean conceding to accusations he did not believe were accurate, which could tarnish his self-image and reputation. As McCarthy noted, “I spoke to Jadon as a coach, as a mentor, as a friend, and as someone who grew up on the streets and knows the code. But Jadon just wasn’t seeing it. He said, ‘I ain’t apologizing because if I do, I’m apologizing for being lazy, always being late, not giving my best. That’s what I’m apologizing for’, and those were his reasons”

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