Jadon Sancho was flooded with support from team-mates and Premier League rivals after declaring he was “so happy” to be back in action for Manchester United.
The former Borussia Dortmund winger had been absent due to what manager Erik ten Hag described as “circumstances with fitness and mood”.
He played his first game since October 22 when he came off the bench in Wednesday’s EFL Cup win against Nottingham Forest.
Ten Hag said Sancho’s issues had been physical and mental, and the club have been careful not to rush him back. After three months out of action, however, Sancho will be hoping to repay United’s patience on the pitch.
He wrote on Instagram: “Wow! Just want to say a massive thank you to everyone for the support I’ve received over the past few weeks especially to the fans. My focus is to give my all to my team and the club, I’m so happy to be back out on the pitch, see you soon.”
Sancho played the last 27 minutes against Forest, receiving a huge ovation from the Old Trafford crowd, and Ten Hag spoke afterwards of the England international’s “really high standards” and “great capabilities”.
United team-mates Lisandro Martinez, Diogo Dalot and Christian Eriksen sent messages of approval in emoji form, the modern footballer’s conversational currency.
There was also backing from Sancho from rivals Manchester City, with Premier League top scorer Erling Haaland sending emojis signalling thankfulness and congratulations as he welcomed his former Dortmund team-mate back to the field.
City’s Jack Grealish also sent emojis of applause and love to Sancho, while Aymeric Laporte posted a similar message, and Riyad Mahrez sent a heart and the message: “Welcome back bro.”
Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior noted his approval with applauding hands and a white heart.
Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham, Forest’s former United man Jesse Lingard and Roma striker Tammy Abraham added to the groundswell of goodwill, while Sancho’s good friend, Newcastle United’s Joe Willock, wrote: “Love you bro.”