Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defends Jadon Sancho after 'exceptional' Villarreal performance

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has responded to Gareth Southgate's hint that Jadon Sancho didn't deserve his place in the latest England squad - insisting that the forward was "exceptional" in United's recent Champions League win over Villarreal.

It's been a slow start to life at Old Trafford for Sancho, who joined for £73m from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, but he has shown flashes of brilliance in taking on opponents at times.

Sancho is yet to contribute a goal or an assist ahead of Saturday's home match with Everton, and has been in line for criticism from some quarters due to the fact he's not rediscovered his Borussia Dortmund form straight away in United red - despite the fact he's still only 21.

Southgate acknowledged that earlier this week as he named his latest Three Lions squad - which Sancho is a part of - but answered "probably not" when asking if he had deserved his spot based on recent performances.

Solskjaer was quick to defend his new signing though saying: "Was that interview done before Wednesday night?

"Jadon was exceptional, he was electric. The crowd loved him and I think he felt that connection. He was direct, positive, he went past the full-back numerous times. Yes, he's not scored yet but I thought, 'that's Jadon and we're going to see lots of that'.

"Gareth has also said it's important that Jadon knows (England) believe in him and are invested in him."

Mason Greenwood, who turned 20 on Friday, was left out of the England squad again by Southgate despite his good start to the season for United, and Solskjaer went on to shed light on why that decision was made.

"Gareth had a frank conversation with Mason and his family and they know the situation," he said. "He also knows Mason is really keen on playing for England.

"Gareth is understanding that the boy is only 20 - he turned 20 today [Friday]. He's going to be a top player for England and for Manchester United but he has to be managed in the right way.

"It gives us a chance to work on his fitness but also to give him a rest because he has been playing in many, many games at a high intensity."

Source : 90min