Peter Schmeichel has told Jadon Sancho to mimic Cristiano Ronaldo if he wants to come good at Manchester United – even if we need to wait patiently for things to click for the England international.
Sancho has thus far struggled to make much of an impact at OId Trafford since his £73 million transfer from Borussia Dortmund over the summer. That said, the team has not performed well, and we’re still conceding too many goals despite adding a world-class defender to the squad.
However, former United goalkeeper Schmeichel believes the 21-year-old will improve if he pays close attention to what Ronaldo is doing.
“You’re a young player in that squad, somebody like Jadon Sancho for instance. It’s a big, big, big price tag for him and it feels a bit heavy for him at the moment,” Schmeichel told the Seaman Says podcast.
“But he will look at this guy [Ronaldo] and he can say, ‘If I do something along those lines, I can be as good as him. I have all the basics, but I can be as good as him.’
“That might take him two, three years to catch on to that but that then gives him maybe ten, 12 years after that.
“This is what Ronaldo gives. I was celebrating when I heard he was returning, running around like crazy in my garden even though I can’t run. But I did.”
Ronaldo hit the ground running for United this season but couldn’t do enough to help the Reds against Leicester City last weekend. United lost 4-2 at the King Power Stadium and pressure is beginning to mount on the team after a run of disappointing results.
Schmeichel also compared the impact of Ronaldo’s return to when Eric Cantona signed for United in 1992.
He added: “This is what he brings. He is 36, getting to 37 now, but he looks chiselled and we saw that when he scored that late goal in Europe the other week.
“He is fantastically fit and the reason he is because he takes his football so seriously. He eats, sleeps, drinks and trains football, his whole life is about that.
“I remember when Eric came, he infused something different into our dressing room or into the whole character of the club because he was different, he did things in a different way.
“Before you knew it, some of the younger players were starting to do that and they were still developing. The Nevilles, Scholes and Nicky Butt, they looked at Eric and started to do some of his things.
“With [United coach] Eric Harrison they had a great footballing education and they were maybe 97 per cent ready to go out there.
“Those three per cent, the last bit, came from Eric and that made them just a tiny bit different to other players they were up against in their positions. It is the same with Cristiano.”