David de Gea is set to become the first non-British player to make 400 Premier League appearances for one club after being named in Manchester United's starting XI for the clash with Leeds United.

Erik ten Hag also handed Jadon Sancho his first start since a 1-1 draw with Chelsea on October 22 after the England international made substitute appearances in two of United's previous three games following a lengthy spell out of action.

De Gea started his career at Atletico Madrid before signing for United ahead of the 2011-12 season.

He helped United win the Premier League title in the following campaign, yet has only got his hands on two more trophies since then – the FA Cup and EFL Cup in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

His landmark appearance at Elland Road also makes him the first goalkeeper in Premier League history to make 400 appearances for the same club.

The 32-year-old's contract expires at the end of the season, though United have an option to trigger a one-year extension, and there have been talks regarding an agreement for a longer renewal.

Ten Hag shuffled his pack in defence, with Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw starting in the middle of the back four instead of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez.

Sancho, meanwhile, has been drafted back in following his excellent cameo against Leeds on Wednesday, as United fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with their manageress rivals.

No replacement for Jesse Marsch has yet been instilled at Leeds, with caretaker Michael Skubala taking charge of his second match.

Erik ten Hag backed Jadon Sancho to shine for the rest of the season after his first goal since September saw Manchester United salvage a 2-2 draw against Leeds United.

Sancho played his first game since October 22 when he came on from the bench against Nottingham Forest earlier this month, having missed an extended period due to what Ten Hag described as "circumstances with fitness and mood".

The England international was introduced as a second-half substitute with United 2-0 down on Wednesday, as Wilfried Gnonto's early strike was followed up by an own goal from Raphael Varane.

However, Marcus Rashford halved the arrears with his 20th goal of the season before Sancho's effort squirmed through the clutches of Illan Meslier, denying managerless Leeds a first league win at Old Trafford since 1981.

Ten Hag hopes Sancho's display is a sign of things to come, saying of his introduction: "I wanted a different dynamic. In that moment we weren't in the game. 

"Luckily it succeeded because we scored two goals. We're very happy. 

"He's all the way back. We know he's a magnificent player. I think he can consistently have a big impact, but he has to work hard. 

"It will motivate him to get more. I really enjoyed it, especially for him. It will strengthen him."

While Ten Hag was pleased with United's improvement over the course of the match, their slow start left him with a sour taste, given Gnonto found the net just 55 seconds after kick-off.

"It's mixed feelings. Of course in the end we were happy to win a point – but we dropped two points," he added.

"It's a very bad start, unacceptable, especially in a derby you have to be ready to battle and take responsibility. We didn't do that.

"I have to complement the team and their resilience to fight back. We made two great team goals."

United will soon have the chance to go one better against their old rivals, as they head to Elland Road on Sunday for the second instalment in a rare Premier League double-header.

After witnessing Leeds produce an energetic display on Wednesday, Ten Hag called on his team to win more duels next time out.

"We knew before how they would play with attitude and style. We didn't know what system they would play but you have to be ready and read the game," Ten Hag said.

"Definitely you have to win your battles. That is for everyone to take the responsibility. If you win those individual battles, you will win this game."

Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford rescued Manchester United in a lively 2-2 draw with Leeds United at Old Trafford, denying the managerless visitors a famous win with a second-half fightback.

United knew a win would move them level with second-placed Manchester City in the Premier League table, but Wilfried Gnonto stunned the Red Devils by firing Leeds ahead inside one minute.

Raphael Varane's own goal then gave United a mountain to climb, but in-form forward Rashford gave them hope with a fine header, setting up a grandstand finish.

Sancho – who recently returned to the fold after a period of absence – levelled things up as a second-half substitute, before United failed to force a winner in a captivating finish. 

Leeds came flying out of the traps and scored after 55 seconds as Gnonto drilled into the bottom-left corner following a give-and-go with Patrick Bamford.

The hosts then laid siege to Leeds' goal for the rest of the first half, with Alejandro Garnacho volleying wide before Maximilian Wober denied him with a goal-line clearance.

Marcel Sabitzer drew a spectacular save from Illan Meslier from 25 yards, and the Red Devils fell further behind shortly after half-time.

The outstanding Gnonto found substitute Crysencio Summerville on the underlap, and his cut-back was diverted past David de Gea by Varane.

United found a route back into the contest just after the hour as Rashford rose to head Diogo Dalot's cross home, and their pressure told once more with 20 minutes remaining.

Shaw's cut-back deflected into the path of Sancho, who saw his tame effort squirm through Meslier's grip to level things up.

Varane almost went from villain to hero with a powerful header as United continued to press, but Meslier atoned for his own earlier error with a save to preserve Leeds' point.

Jadon Sancho was flooded with support from team-mates and Premier League rivals after declaring he was "so happy" to be back in action for Manchester United.

The former Borussia Dortmund winger had been absent due to what manager Erik ten Hag described as "circumstances with fitness and mood".

He played his first game since October 22 when he came off the bench in Wednesday's EFL Cup win against Nottingham Forest.

Ten Hag said Sancho's issues had been physical and mental, and the club have been careful not to rush him back. After three months out of action, however, Sancho will be hoping to repay United's patience on the pitch.

He wrote on Instagram: "Wow! Just want to say a massive thank you to everyone for the support I've received over the past few weeks especially to the fans. My focus is to give my all to my team and the club, I'm so happy to be back out on the pitch, see you soon."

Sancho played the last 27 minutes against Forest, receiving a huge ovation from the Old Trafford crowd, and Ten Hag spoke afterwards of the England international's "really high standards" and "great capabilities".

United team-mates Lisandro Martinez, Diogo Dalot and Christian Eriksen sent messages of approval in emoji form, the modern footballer's conversational currency.

There was also backing from Sancho from rivals Manchester City, with Premier League top scorer Erling Haaland sending emojis signalling thankfulness and congratulations as he welcomed his former Dortmund team-mate back to the field.

City's Jack Grealish also sent emojis of applause and love to Sancho, while Aymeric Laporte posted a similar message, and Riyad Mahrez sent a heart and the message: "Welcome back bro."

Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior noted his approval with applauding hands and a white heart.

Liverpool's Jordan Henderson, Dortmund's Jude Bellingham, Forest's former United man Jesse Lingard and Roma striker Tammy Abraham added to the groundswell of goodwill, while Sancho's good friend, Newcastle United's Joe Willock, wrote: "Love you bro."

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag projected an air of optimism regarding his squad depth after the return of Jadon Sancho and deadline day signing of Marcel Sabitzer.

United were dealt a massive blow earlier this week with the news Christian Eriksen will potentially be out for three months due to an ankle injury caused by a heavy challenge from Reading's Andy Carroll.

The Denmark midfielder had been one of United's key players due to his creativity, as reflected by his haul of nine assists being bettered by no one else in the squad.

United moved quickly to bring in Sabitzer on loan from Bayern Munich until the end of the season as a replacement, with the Austria international's arrival appearing even more necessary after it emerged Scott McTominay is also facing a short spell out.

Ten Hag was thrilled to get the deal done, and he has high expectations for the former RB Leipzig star, despite him struggling to make much of an impact at Bayern.

"We're really happy with that transfer because we need it after Donny [van de Beek] dropped out, now [Christian] Eriksen for a longer time, for a short time Scott McTominay is not available," Ten Hag told reporters after Wednesday's 2-0 EFL Cup semi-final second-leg win over Nottingham Forest.

"To bring a quality player in on deadline day, that is difficult. We got this opportunity.

"I know the player for a long time from Salzburg, especially Leipzig, [where] he performed fantastic. I expect the same here.

"He has a great attitude, he's the right age. I'm sure this opportunity will motivate him and he will perform for us."

Among the big talking points from the win over Forest was the comeback of Sancho, who had not played for United since October 22.

The England international had been absent due to "circumstances with fitness and mood", which even resulted in him spending a period away from the club.

He played the last 27 minutes on Wednesday, receiving a huge ovation from the Old Trafford crowd, and Ten Hag was thrilled to have such a talented player available again.

"It was great for Jadon and the fans cheered him and gave him a loud applause, and that's great and he sees how the fans like [him], give him this love," the manager continued. "So we are happy with that. We need to keep that connection with the fans and we need that all season.

"He has really high standards, he has great capabilities to contribute to our team and I think, especially now the team is improving, we are playing more in the opponents' half and I think his capabilities are coming more in front.

"He can act on them more because he will have more touches on the ball and that gives him the best platform to perform.

"Most important players enjoy football, which gives energy, that gives them the motivation to act and to perform. I think it was great, the reception from the fans to him, and also that will give him even more a push to continue in the way he's now acting.

"He's just started again, a restart. He's [been] back at Carrington [United's training base] for two weeks, we see that smile and hopefully he can keep that and contribute to the team because when he is in good form, he is really important for us.

"I hope, same as [Anthony] Martial, when you are all the time available and play often together with the players we have now in the midfield and front line, our attacking plan will improve and create more chances, then it's a process players enjoy more and are better motivated to work together."

United are next in action on Sunday when they host Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

Erik ten Hag hopes Manchester United can continue to call upon their full quota of attacking talents after the returns of Jadon Sancho and Antony Martial.

The two attackers were second-half substitutes in Wednesday's 2-0 EFL Cup semi-final second-leg victory against Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford, with Martial marking his return from injury with a goal.

With the aforementioned duo, Marcus Rashford, Antony, Bruno Fernandes and Wout Weghorst among those for Ten Hag in the attacking third, United have a number of options to call upon.

However, any selection headache it may present is of relief to Ten Hag, who has seen his squad have to cope with several absences so far this season.

"The problem is they were not always available until now. We did a lot of compromises during the season so far," he told Sky Sports.

"I hope we come to a point where they are available. If you want to win trophies, they need to be available because we have so many games.

"You saw today, you can do something from the bench, bring in a different dynamic."

United's triple change on the hour mark resulted in the breakthrough against Forest, with Sancho among them in his first appearance for the club since October.

The England international played a different role than was expected, occupying a more central position than one on the wing, with versatility something Ten Hag is keen to capitalise on.

"I think we've done it before. It's a different dynamic, it's what we intended to do," he explained.

"I know he can play as a number ten as well, he can play as a winger. We mix it up and around.

"That's what I like, but the position has to be occupied and the player has to keep the discipline because otherwise it's going to be a mess."

With a spot in the EFL Cup final secure, where Newcastle United await on February 26, the Red Devils can look ahead to a packed fixture schedule that includes a double-header against Leeds United in the Premier League and a two-legged tie with Barcelona in the Europa League.

However, such a congested fixture list is not of concern to Ten Hag, who welcomed the challenge it presents.

"It's a luxury problem, it's how we want it. It's normal for Manchester United to play every third day, so we're looking forward to that," he added.

"Most players are looking forward to playing games more than training. For us, we must make every game better than the previous one.

"We're looking forward to the final. It's great to go to Wembley, to play Newcastle United, who are a great team, but it's far away for us now.

"We're looking forward to the Premier League on Saturday against Crystal Palace."

Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial will return for Manchester United's EFL Cup semi-final second leg against Nottingham Forest, Erik ten Hag confirmed.

Sancho has not featured for United since October's 1-1 draw against Chelsea due to "circumstances with fitness and mood".

Meanwhile, Martial's last appearance came in the victory over Manchester City at Old Trafford earlier this month when he was withdrawn at half-time.

The pair are back available for United ahead of Wednesday's clash at Old Trafford, where the hosts lead 3-0 from last week's first leg.

"We have some issues," Ten Hag told club media on Tuesday.

"I think tomorrow that Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho will return in the game squad, but Scott McTominay will still be absent.

"I think also the next game [against Crystal Palace] he will be absent. We have to see how that process will go. And for the rest, I think everyone is fit."

Already having one foot in the EFL Cup final at Wembley, United will pay close attention to Tuesday's contest between Newcastle United and Southampton to discover their potential opponents.

United last won the EFL Cup in 2016-17 under Jose Mourinho, a season where the Europa League was also won and a campaign that represents the last time the club won a trophy.

Jadon Sancho is "making steps" towards returning for Manchester United and could play against Reading in the FA Cup on Saturday, manager Erik ten Hag revealed.

Sancho has not featured for United since a 1-1 draw against Chelsea in October, with Ten Hag giving the reason for his absence as "circumstances with fitness and mood".

The 22-year-old returned to training last week, but Ten Hag ruled him out of the 3-2 Premier League defeat at leaders Arsenal on Sunday, a loss that ended a run of six league games undefeated.

During Sancho's time away, Ten Hag has played both 18-year-old Alejandro Garnacho and Marcus Rashford at left-wing, the latter of whom is on a run of 10 goals in as many games in all competitions since returning from the World Cup.

While Garnacho and Rashford have impressed in Sancho's absence, with United the only English team left competing on four fronts, the former Borussia Dortmund man's return could provide Ten Hag with useful depth as they bid to end a six-year trophy drought.

Ten Hag is hoping Sancho will be back on the field soon, and did not rule out him making an appearance against Reading at Old Trafford in the FA Cup fourth round.

"He [Sancho] is training with the team, and we will see," Ten Hag told reporters. "He's improving, he's making steps, and we will make the decision after training [whether he will play against Reading].

"He's on the way back, he's making steps, he's back in team training, and we have to see when he's ready to go back into games."

The cup tie with Reading will be United's eighth match since the start of 2023, but Ten Hag is confident of putting out a more than capable line-up against the Royals, saying: "We always have issues.

"But I think tomorrow we will have a strong selection for this game, we have a good squad, we can cover things."

Ten Hag warned against complacency against a side 30 places below them in the English football pyramid, explaining: "Football is never decided on paper, we have to be ready for every game.

"Every opponent will be tough. Especially in the cup for them, it's a perfect chance. We have to be aware of that, be on the front foot, focused and [with] energy. We want to win every game."

United continue to have problems at full-back, with Luke Shaw and Diogo Dalot both missing the 3-0 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg victory over Nottingham Forest with knocks.

Ten Hag ruled out Dalot for the Reading game while he could not commit on Shaw, though he lauded Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Tyrell Malacia for how they deputised against Forest.

"Dalot definitely out and Shaw a question mark," Ten Hag added. "We have to see after training.

"I think Aaron and Tyrell play magnificent in this moment, on Wednesday they were really brilliant, the whole back four was really brilliant. 

"In the back four we have really adapted the squad, that's what you need with 10 games in 30 days."

Erik ten Hag changed his tone and declared he was happy with Manchester United's overall defending this season, despite criticising his team after their 3-2 loss to Arsenal.

United fell 11 points behind the Gunners in the race for the Premier League title, with Eddie Nketiah scoring a late winner at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

After that game, Ten Hag said United's defensive failings had been "unacceptable".

Speaking ahead of an EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Nottingham Forest, Ten Hag explained he was talking about defending of the goals specifically and is otherwise pleased with his team's efforts at the back, although there are lessons to be taken on board.

"I think in a lot of games we defended very well, we had a lot of clean sheets," Ten Hag said.

"Against Man City [in United's recent 2-1 win at Old Trafford], we defended very well. I think, in general, also against Arsenal, we defended well.

"I don't think they had many clean shots, I think the one time was from a free-kick. But the rest were shots from distance, when we had a lot of defenders in between the ball and the goal.

"That's what I meant when I said all the goals were avoidable and it can't happen. That was my point: when you concede three goals in a top game, it is very hard to win the game.

"That is what happened so that is one of the conclusions. It can't happen. We set that conclusion... we have to learn and take this lesson."

Ten Hag – who ruled Diogo Dalot, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial out of the Forest game – also spoke about the importance of winning trophies, with United hoping to end a run without one since May 2017.

The 52-year-old won three Eredivisie titles, two KNVB Cups and a Johan Cruyff Shield in his time in charge of Ajax, and said: "It's about that, it's about winning trophies.

"We have a good opportunity, but we have to go from game to game. So now we play Forest, two legs, so focus on the first leg and don't think further ahead because that will distract. So the aim for tomorrow is to win that game.

“It is the best feeling you can have, winning a trophy. I had the luck in my career to win some trophies and it was magnificent, especially for the fans. It's so great.

“The fans here, they have some experience, especially the older fans. And now it's a period when Manchester United didn't win any trophies and it's too long ago, so we are aware of that fact. We have to do everything to bring a trophy in."

Jadon Sancho "has a way to go" before returning to Manchester United's matchday squad, says Erik ten Hag, who has ruled the winger out of Sunday's clash with Arsenal.

Sancho has not played for United since a 1-1 draw with Chelsea in October, with Ten Hag describing his absence as the result of "circumstances with fitness and mood".

While the 22-year-old returned to team training earlier this week, he will not be involved when United bid to extend their unbeaten Premier League run to seven games against title-chasing Arsenal.

Asked about Sancho's return to the group by MUTV on Saturday, Ten Hag said: "It is the next step. He still has a way to go.

"He will know that, but when he makes this progress, then he can return to the group for games. 

"Of course, we all hope for that, because he is a great footballer. He has great skills that can help us. 

"We have to cover so many games, but especially we need quality players, and he is definitely a quality player who can make the difference, and we are expecting that from him."

United remain the only side to beat Arsenal in the Premier League this season, and they are bidding to complete just their second league double over the Gunners since Alex Ferguson's 2013 retirement on Sunday, having beaten them home and away under Jose Mourinho in the 2017-18 campaign.

While United will be without Sancho and suspended midfielder Casemiro in north London, they have no other major absences to deal with, and Ten Hag is hopeful of another positive performance.

"As you know, Casemiro is absent, but for the rest, we have a good team, which has to battle with Arsenal," he said.

"We have to go head-to-head, and we are convinced we are in a good way. We have a prepared team and a good plan and energy, and we will be acting on that."

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag will not rush Jadon Sancho back, even if it means fighting against his own impatience.

Sancho started this season in encouraging fashion but has not played for United since the 1-1 draw with Chelsea on October 22.

He was an unused substitute eight days later against West Ham and then left out of United's squad for their training camp in Spain during the World Cup.

Ten Hag lifted the lid somewhat in mid-December as he said Sancho had been absent due to "circumstances with fitness and mood".

Sancho spent time working to an individual training programme in the Netherlands with coaches known to Ten Hag during the Premier League's hiatus, and he has since been back at United, training alongside fringe players.

It was early December when Ten Hag initially said he could not "give a prognosis of when" Sancho would return, and while the England international is apparently making progress, the manager is still unable to provide a definitive answer.

"I would like to have Jadon back as soon as possible," Ten Hag told reporters ahead of Friday's FA Cup third-round clash with Everton. "I will do everything that's in my power, but some processes you can't force and this is one of them.

"So, I have also to show patience, although I don't have the patience because we have a lack of opportunities in the frontline, players who are available and capable to contribute in the Premier League – not only the Premier League but the highest standard of top football.

"Jadon is one – when he is fit. He will contribute and then we have an extra option and so we will have more chance of winning a lot of games.

"We have some hurdles to take, but I think he's [going] in a good direction. In this moment he is not fit enough, no. I said physical, but physical is also the connection with mental.

"He is now making good progress on the physical part and that will help him. I hope he can return quickly, but I can't say how long it will be."

Ten Hag was asked to explain how a Premier League footballer can suddenly become absent for such a prolonged period despite not being injured.

With Sancho's absence seemingly related to his mental wellbeing rather than physical health, Ten Hag pointed out the importance of treating the individual's needs as opposed to using a one-size-fits-all approach.

"Many top athletes, in football and also in other sports, sometimes it's good to go away from the place where you are at daily to get a new vibe and a new experience," he added.

"People have a different approach and this can give you the right push to get back on track. Football players aren't robots. No one is the same.

"I think for everyone, you need an individual approach. We thought that, in cooperation with Jadon, it was the best choice."

Erik ten Hag has credited Casemiro for "raising the limits" at Manchester United since his August arrival from Real Madrid.

Casemiro has forged a fruitful midfield partnership with Christian Eriksen since swapping the Santiago Bernabeu – where he won five Champions League titles – for Old Trafford.

With United just one point adrift of the Premier League's top four ahead of Saturday's trip to Wolves, Ten Hag believes the Brazil international's presence has had a huge impact on his team.

Asked about Madrid's decision to part company with Casemiro, Ten Hag said: "I'm happy they sold him, he's a magnificent player. 

"Our analysis was that we needed someone in the [number] six position. We had lot of discussions about it in this room, but we needed the right player. 

"We definitely have the right player. We're happy to have him, he is raising the limits for Manchester United."

Another tenacious South American has emerged as a key part of Ten Hag's side after arriving in the last transfer window, with Argentina's Lisandro Martinez making a centre-back spot his own.

Martinez was absent as United beat Nottingham Forest 3-0 on their return to Premier League action after helping Argentina  win the World Cup in Qatar, and Ten Hag hopes that achievement will benefit the defender's development.

"It will be a boost, he has confidence in himself, this experience will strengthen him even more," Ten Hag added. 

"Argentina played to win, others played to not lose. He also showed that mentality for Manchester United – when it's difficult to stand up, it will help us even more.

"I didn't doubt him, that's why I brought him in. He has high potential. If he works well, he can make huge progress, he has huge space for improvement. 

"That experience is so emotional, and now you have to manage it as a player. It's a good challenge, if you survive the challenge you're going to be a better player."

Meanwhile, Ten Hag confirmed winger Jadon Sancho has returned to training, having been left out since a draw against Chelsea in October after being deemed "not in the right status or fitness state" to play.

"The time is not now but he's making progress and we will see when he is ready to return," Ten Hag said. "He's back in Manchester and started individual training."

Jadon Sancho is unlikely to feature when Manchester United host Nottingham Forest as Erik ten Hag hopes performance psychologist Rainier Koers can help to revitalise the winger.

Sancho last featured for United in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea on October 22 and was absent from Gareth Southgate's England squad for the World Cup in Qatar.

With the former Borussia Dortmund player subsequently left out of United's travelling party for a training camp in Spain, Ten Hag said he was "not in the right status or fitness state" to participate.

Having secured a place in the EFL Cup quarter-finals by beating Burnley on Wednesday, United return to Premier League action at home to Forest on Tuesday, but Sancho is unlikely to feature.

Asked whether the 22-year-old will play at Old Trafford, Ten Hag said: "I don't think so."

Earlier this month, Ten Hag said Sancho's underwhelming form was the result of physical and mental factors, and the Dutchman has hinted sports performance psychologist Koers could help him return to form.

Koers describes himself on his personal website as a 'life coach', and Ten Hag believes he has plenty to offer to the likes of Sancho but also United as a whole.

"He [Koers] is here for the whole season, working as part of the coaching staff on man management," Ten Hag said.

"He is working with the squad, but also with the staff and with all the departments.

"That's his job – one of his jobs – to get the right spirit in individuals and in the team."

Sancho's lack of form has done nothing to dispel rumours United could move for Cody Gakpo in the January transfer window after he impressed for the Netherlands at the World Cup, but Ten Hag was unwilling to discuss the PSV winger.

Asked whether he was impressed by Gakpo's displays in Qatar, Ten Hag said: "There were many, many good players at the World Cup."

Erik ten Hag provided a blunt reply when asked when Jadon Sancho will return for Manchester United but insisted Aaron Wan-Bissaka has a future at the club.

Sancho last featured for United on October 22 in a 1-1 draw against Chelsea and was omitted from England's World Cup squad.

The winger did not travel with the squad for a warm-weather training camp in Spain during the domestic break for Qatar 2022 either, having instead been placed on an individual programme to work on his fitness.

United were back in action on Wednesday in a 2-0 triumph over Burnley in the EFL Cup and manager Ten Hag was asked if he knew when Sancho would be available for selection by Sky Sports, to which he merely replied: "No."

Pressed on if there was a timeline for the former Borussia Dortmund star's return to action, Ten Hag gave the same reply.

However, he did provide a lengthier response to questions about Wan-Bissaka, who has struggled with injuries this season.

The full-back set up Christian Eriksen for United's first goal, before Marcus Rashford's fine individual effort sealed United's progression to the last eight.

Wan-Bissaka has struggled for consistency since arriving from Crystal Palace in 2019 and has been linked with a return to the Eagles.

Ten Hag, though, says the defender can cement a place at Old Trafford.

"Aaron Wan-Bissaka, it is clear he has a future," Ten Hag told reporters on Wednesday. "He's had some good years with United, but from the start of this season he had a lot of illnesses and injuries, and so was running behind.

"His fitness levels are getting better, his performance levels are getting better.

"When you get an assist, especially the way he got that assist with his movement and the right moment, the timing and then great pass of course from Bruno [Fernandes]. But this is great and so I'm happy with his performance. He did good."

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag remains unsure when Jadon Sancho will return to first-team duties due to the winger lacking both confidence and fitness.

Sancho has not played for United since a 1-1 draw with Chelsea on October 22 and was not included as part of England's World Cup squad.

The 22-year-old was then left out of United's travelling party for their recent warm-weather training camp in Spain, instead staying back to work on an individual programme.

Former Borussia Dortmund attacker Sancho, who is in his second season at Old Trafford, is now in a race against time to be ready for United's return to action next week.

"We didn't see him in the last games for United as he wasn't in the right fitness state, and he is now on an individual programme," Ten Hag told reporters. 

"We want him to finish that and hopefully see him back soon. We want to bring him back as quickly as possible, but I can't give a prognosis of when that will be."

Sancho started the season well with three goals in his first eight matches, yet that was not enough to earn a place in England's squad for September's Nations League games.

Ten Hag says Sancho's form noticeably dipped around the time, with no further goals scored in his past six outings.

"Sometimes there are circumstances with fitness and mood," Ten Hag added. "He was not in the right status or fitness state."

Sancho was one of the big-name omissions from Gareth Southgate's England squad for Qatar 2022, which Ten Hag puts down to the player's loss of form.

"There's huge competition with England," he said. "Even at the World Cup, every game is difficult to know who to start because there's so much talent in the offensive line.

"When you don't show it week by week you can fall out of the squad, which is what happened.

"When the league started he played some good games, but after we got a drop of levels. Sometimes you don't know why or what is causing it. Most of the time it comes slowly. 

"First you observe, but the stats back it up. In the start of the season he had goals and assists, but his key moments and key actions became less and less.

"It's a combination of physical but also mental. We're trying to research and get him back."

United return to action with an EFL Cup last-16 tie against Burnley on December 21, before hosting Nottingham Forest in the Premier League six days later.

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