Manchester United had four players remaining in the competition immediately following the round of 16. With Potugal, Sweden, Wales and France all falling at the first knockout hurdle, the United contingent was quickly dwindling.
However, now coming into the round of 16, United can now boast five players involved at the Euros. How? Jadon Sancho. The biggest news of the week was manchester United finally getting the deal done. And when I mean finally, there were tears of relief and ecstasy that the deal got over the line after a year of active negotiations and all the additional years of rumoured adoration for the winger. United and Dortmund have agreed a fee of £72.9m pending a medical at the close of Englands Euro campaign.
So how did Manchester United’s remaining representatives in the tournament perform as they looked to progress into the last four?
SpainEmbed from Getty Images
Despite Unai Simon’s disastrous error against Croatia, he maintained his spot between the sticks as the match went to a penalty shootout vs Switzerland. As the match did go to penalties, and Spain managed a victory, it’s needless to say Luis Enrique was justified in his decision as United fans know all too well how fares in those pressure-cooker scenarios. The wounds of the Europa League final are still quite fresh…
EnglandEmbed from Getty Images
The United trio of Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire, and Jadon Sancho all started as England made easy work of Ukraine to book a place in the semi-final. All three played huge roles in England’s success. Shaw, whether it be from set plays or open play looks absolutely unplayable. The left-back has now created the most chances at this year’s Euros. Currently, only David Beckham has more assists for England at European Championships than Luke Shaw with the former on five and Shaw on 3. Shaw had a sensational night, perhaps topped off by the Roberto Carlos seal of approval he received on his Instagram after the game. Doesn’t get much better than that.Embed from Getty Images
Harry Maguire is continuing to grow as a leader and as a player. You could even argue he is slowly writing himself into the history books as an England great. There’s no way you can score in the world cup quarter-final and follow it up with a goal in the European championship and not go down in folklore. Especially if England do bring it home. Our very own ‘Slabhead’ gave us the gift of the first goal straight out of Old Trafford as Maguire got on the end of a sublime ball into the box from Shaw to double the lead at the time.Embed from Getty Images
Sancho started the game and it wasn’t long before he showed everyone exactly what he will bring to Old Trafford. His directness on the ball was important to how England could overload wide areas but what was most impressive was how seamlessly he could interchange. There were times Sancho, who began on the right-hand side, found himself centrally getting receiving crosses from Shaw or on the left linking up with the left-back. No goals or assists but a strong showing nonetheless.
Luke Shaw vs Ukraine: 9/10
Harry Maguire vs Ukraine: 8/10
Jadon Sancho vs Ukraine: 7/10
What to look forward to in the semi-final?
England are coming home trying to bring football home as they take on the Danes at Wembley. David de Gea, will likely be on the sidelines as Spain goes head to head with Spain.