Ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has called on Antony and Jadon Sancho to take “more risks” when in possession of the ball.
The BT Sport pundit thinks the two wingers are playing too safe and he has encouraged both of them to follow the example of Leandro Trossard, who has hit the ground running since making the £27m move to Arsenal in January:
“There’s one part of Antony and Jadon Sancho’s game that I think needs to improve, and that’s taking more risks. You don’t get anything in this game without taking risks. You don’t have success without taking risks, you don’t win trophies without taking risks. Alex Ferguson used to say to us all the time that he doesn’t want safe from forwards.”
“Trossard, for me, has been a masterstroke signing. He gives Arsenal that depth in wide areas and up front. Arsenal had [Bukayo] Saka and [Gabriel] Martinelli producing miracles all season but who can come in if one of them gets injured or needs a rest? It’s Trossard now. He was the one player at Brighton who I was surprised hadn’t gone earlier.”
“Every time I watched him he did something in the game, he’s a Belgium international too. When you talk about wide players not taking risks, this guy takes risks. He gets the ball, he goes forward, he plays one-twos, he dribbles, he takes people on and he can see a pass.”
It’s an interesting point that Ferdinand makes. Sancho, in particular, has struggled to replicate the performances he put in for Borussia Dortmund, and part of that has been down to his reluctance to take opponents on and make things happen.
Antony is not lacking confidence like Sancho, but he can be pretty one-dimensional, choosing to shoot or pass the ball inside, rather than going at the opposing fullback one-on-one.
Trossard, in contrast, has demonstrated a fearlessness since moving to Arsenal that comes with experience and confidence in his own ability. It would be great to see Antony and Sancho both take some inspiration from that.