England manager Gareth Southgate has admitted Jadon Sancho doesn’t necessarily deserve his place in the latest national squad, following a slow start to life with Manchester United.

Sancho has been a regular fixture in senior England teams in recent years following his breakthrough at now former club Borussia Dortmund, and moved to United for £73m after Euro 2020 – a tournament which saw the Three Lions reach the final.

The 21-year-old saw his playing time limited during that run, and it’s been a similar story since his move to Old Trafford. Sancho has shown small flashes of the brilliance he displayed in Germany but has yet to provide a goal or assist, looks somewhat short on confidence and is not yet considered a regular starter.

Southgate admitted, as he selected his latest squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary, that the winger doesn’t exactly deserve his selection – though England do believe in him and are willing to work hard to recover his best form.

“Does he deserve to be in on these performances over the last few weeks? Well probably not,” he said. “But I think we feel we have invested in Jadon over a period of time, we believe he can get to a high level.

“I would like some time with him to chat with him and help that process that’s going on at Manchester United as well and I think for him to feel that we have belief in him at this point is a good message.

“So again we’re talking about there’s no perfect solution here and you could easily throw another name at me that we’ve left out in the past and say, ‘well you didn’t deal with them in the same way’.

“We try to individually do the right thing at the right time, send the right message and sometimes the right message is to leave a player out and maybe they respond and that’s the right thing but we feel with Jadon at this time it is important for us to keep him with us.”

Southgate went on to admit that the player will need time to adapt given the step up from the Bundesliga to the Premier League.

“With Jadon I’m not surprised, really,” he added. “The Bundesliga is totally different, Dortmund is a big club but Manchester United is one of the biggest in the world.

“There’s some adaptation to that, there’s a definite adaptation to the league, you’re not going to get the goals and assists numbers anywhere near in our league, that you are in the Bundesliga.

“There are some very good teams but also it’s a good league for young players to develop him because there are some teams that aren’t at that level.

“Our league, every game is intense and tough and he’s probably just starting to realise that.”