Ten Hag and his United staff are understood to have been left stunned when Sancho took to social media on Sunday night and effectively accused his manager of lying about the reasons for his absence from the 3-1 defeat at Arsenal.
The United manager said Sancho had been dropped from the squad because of his “performances in training”, a stance understood to have been completely backed by his coaching staff.
But Sancho – a £73 million signing from Borussia Dortmund under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer two years ago – claimed on X that was “completely untrue”, that there were “other reasons” for his omission and that he had been made “a scapegoat for a long time which isn’t fair”.
Telegraph Sport understands that there are unlikely to be any face-to-face talks between Ten Hag – who was not at United’s Carrington training ground on Monday – and Sancho in the coming days as a result of the international break which can often see those not involved in games take a little time off.
But sources said Ten Hag is bitterly disappointed by Sancho’s actions given the lengths to which the Dutchman has gone to try to help to kickstart the 23-year-old’s career since taking over as United manager.
Sancho’s controversial post was still online as of Monday night and it remains to be seen if the player apologises to Ten Hag or what disciplinary action he intends to take. The previous player to cross Ten Hag at Old Trafford, Cristiano Ronaldo, was gone within days of criticising the manager in an unauthorised interview last November.
Rio Ferdinand, the former United defender, claimed on Monday that Sancho risks being frozen out for the remainder of the season unless he moves to Saudi Arabia this week. Yet sources in the Middle East played down the prospect of Saudi Pro League sides bidding for Sancho before the close of their transfer window on Thursday.
The Turkish window remains open until September 15 but it is unlikely any clubs there could afford Sancho’s £250,000-a-week wages.
Ben Foster, the former United goalkeeper, claimed Sancho would never play for the club again if Sir Alex Ferguson was still in charge. “If Sir Alex Ferguson is still the manager, and Jadon Sancho does this, he will never see the light of day again for Manchester United,” said Foster. “He’d never play for the club [again], he’d never be allowed in the training ground [again].”
Ten Hag had given Sancho three months away from United last season to work on his physical and mental condition in the hope the player would rediscover his form and confidence after a troubled period.
Sancho scored twice in his first four games back, earning praise from Ten Hag, before his performances dipped again in the final weeks of the campaign, notably the FA Cup final defeat to his former club Manchester City in June.
A winger by trade, Sancho was deployed as a false nine in a number of games during pre-season and was applauded by Ten Hag after scoring in a 2-0 victory over Arsenal in New Jersey in July.
But Sancho has been limited to three substitute performances so far this season and it is believed Ten Hag feels he should have been getting a lot more from the winger.
Frustrations with Sancho’s attitude and application in training reached a point this week where Ten Hag and his backroom staff felt it would be wrong to include him against Arsenal.
It was unclear on Monday night what exactly Sancho was referring to when he claimed there were “other reasons” behind his omission.
Sancho was one of the players United are thought to have been willing to listen to offers for during the summer and there were reports on Monday that the player’s name had been briefly floated during discussions between United and Chelsea over a potential, it ultimately aborted, loan deal for Marc Cucurella.
Sancho’s claims that he has been made a “scapegoat” at United has echoes of how the player reportedly felt in the wake of a difficult spell at Dortmund.
In November 2019, it was reported that Sancho felt “humiliated, scapegoated and unprotected” by the German club after a number of incidents.
The previous month Sancho had been fined and dropped before a game against Borussia Monchengladbach after he returned late from international duty and was publicly criticised by Dortmund’s then sporting director Michael Zorc and coach at the time, Lucien Favre.
Favre subsequently substituted Sancho after 36 minutes of a 4-0 defeat to Bayern Munich when the team were losing 1-0 after feeling his performance was “not good enough”.
Meanwhile, Ten Hag stands to lose Andre Onana for up to eight matches due to the Africa Cup of Nations in January and February should Cameroon qualify for the tournament next week after the goalkeeper confirmed he was coming out of international retirement.
Onana, 27, quit Cameroon last December in the wake of a reported falling out with coach Rigobert Song during the World Cup in Qatar.
But, despite claiming he had been “confronted with trials marked by injustice and manipulation”, Onana announced on Monday he would be rejoining the squad.
Cameroon will qualify for the African Nations if they beat Burundi in a winner-takes-all showdown in Garoua next Tuesday.
With the tournament due to kick off in Ivory Coast on January 13, United could be without their first choice goalkeeper for between four and eight matches should Cameroon reach the final on February 11.