Consider what might have happened if Ronaldo had not been on the field for United's 1-1 draw with Newcastle on Saturday. As he continues to acclimate to life in a United shirt, Sancho, United's star £73 million summer signing, put in a six-out-of-ten performance. After coming off the bench in United's opening two Premier League games against Leeds United and Southampton, Sancho started for the second time. Before the international break, he was taken off in the second half of games against Wolves and Newcastle. On Saturday, his substitute Jesse Lingard scored United's fourth goal.
Sancho hasn't made any mistakes, but his Old Trafford debut hasn't been spectacular. Ronaldo's arrival could be advantageous to him. Sancho has never played senior English football, despite being an England international, and transitioning from the Bundesliga to the Premier League will take some time.
Thanks to Ronaldo, dominating the headlines and absorbing all of the attention, Sancho now has more time to acclimatize to playing for United with a less load on his shoulders.
Ronaldo can also help Sancho create chances; on Saturday, for example, the winger was unable to aim his shot on goal because defenders were distracted by Ronaldo's run. It also works in the opposite direction.
Sancho has spent the majority of his time for United on the left flank, and if he keeps stretching defenses by attacking down that line, Ronaldo will have more room in the center to exploit. We can only hope that when Manchester United takes on Young Boys, Sancho will be back to his former self as a Dortmund player. We don't need him hunkering down beneath Ronaldo.
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