Paul Scholes backs Jadon Sancho to START in the FA Cup final and replace the injured Antony
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Paul Scholes backs ‘trim and confident’ Jadon Sancho to start in the FA Cup final against Man City and replace the injured Antony… after impressing on the right wing in 4-1 Chelsea thrashing
Manchester United icon Paul Scholes has tipped Jadon Sancho to step up and replace Antony if the injured winger is unable to play in Manchester United’s FA Cup final against crosstown rivals Manchester City in June.
Antony was taken off on a stretcher during United’s 4-1 thrashing of Chelsea on Thursday evening after injuring himself tussling with Trevoh Chalobah for possession.
Although the Chelsea defender’s challenge on the ball was clean, Antony appeared to drag and twist his ankle whilst propelling himself in the penalty area.
Erik ten Hag described his former Ajax player’s injury as ‘serious’ after the final whistle, and warned that the club would have to wait ‘a minimum of 24 hours’ before knowing whether the accident had put a premature end to the Brazilian’s season.
United have just one more Premier League fixture to play but their looming final at Wembley gives them the vital opportunity to not only claim their second piece of silverware this season but snuff out City’s chance to replicate their historic 1998/99 Treble.
Jadon Sancho could provide a strong alternative to Antony should his injury rule him out of the FA Cup final in June
The Brazilian winger writhed in pain after tussling with Trevoh Chalobah during the 4-1 victory
The United legend (left) urged Erik Ten Hag to test Sancho at Wembley against Man City
Scholes – a member of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Treble-winning side – was full of praise for Sancho after his showing against the Blues, which saw the 23-year-old slipped into Antony’s role on the right wing after team-mate Marcus Rashford was introduced as a substitute.
On duty for Premier League Productions, Scholes argued that it had been worth the risk for Ten Hag to play Antony so close to the final.
‘You’ve got to play players, and sometimes you just get a bit unlucky, and he’s been unlucky tonight with Antony,’ Scholes said, before adding. ‘But he’s got some good player to come in.
‘Rashford came off the bench tonight, I think Sancho is looking as good as he has looked all season.
‘I’m a little bit sorry the season has got to end for him, he’s looking fit, he’s looking trim, he’s looking trim, he’s looking quick, and he’s looking so confident as well.
‘So I think he could come into that final.’
Sancho has spent most of his 39 appearances in red this season playing on the left, but Scholes’ high regard for his righthanded play – which was prioritised during his time at Borussia Dortmund – might give Ten Hag pause for thought.
Ten Hag tried to comfort Antony as he was carried off the pitch during the first half of the tie
The 23-year-old has had a challenging season but is starting to look back to his best at its close
The player has been inconsistent since his £73m move to Manchester in 2021, struggling to find form and regular playing time.
At the end of 2022, Sancho took a break from first-team action amid concerns over his mental and physical wellbeing before returning to the squad in February after completing an individualised training programme in Ten Hag’s native Holland.
In the latter-half of the season, the City academy graduate has gradually found his footing and been handed a more regular role in the starting XI.
United’s final match against Fulham on Sunday – with Champions League jeopardy removed – could provide Sancho’s head coach with the opportunity to test Scholes’ theory before June 3.