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Renato Sanches is yet to impress in the Premier League

by 16/09/2017 19:09:00 0 comments 1 Views

By Riath Al-samarrai for The Mail on Sunday

Published: 14:39 EDT, 16 September 2017 | Updated: 19:09 EDT, 16 September 2017

There was a moment in the first half when Renato Sanches took possession in Swansea’s midfield and had a look at Son Heung-min but cautious thoughts got the better of him. He rolled the ball safely back inside and threw his hands in the air in frustration.

Possession had been kept, which surely represents progress of sorts, given how willingly he coughed up the ball on his much-anticipated debut against Newcastle last weekend.

But it still only feels like he is only halfway there and he knows it.

Renato Sanches is yet to make a huge impact since moving to  Swansea on loan
Renato Sanches is yet to make a huge impact since moving to  Swansea on loan

Renato Sanches is yet to make a huge impact since moving to Swansea on loan

Sanches was substituted for Swansea early into the second half against Spurs
Sanches was substituted for Swansea early into the second half against Spurs

Sanches was substituted for Swansea early into the second half against Spurs

So much is expected and so much has been said about the extraordinary loan deal on deadline day that took one of the world's most hyped young talents from Bayern Munich to Swansea. And yet he has not got going, his game still fumbling around in the low gears.

Plainly, ring rust is an issue for a 20-year-old who, it should not be forgotten, has only 62 appearances to his name across Benfica, Bayern and now Swansea. This one was halted after 58 minutes, which is 10 less than he got against Newcastle last weekend, but the quality here was better than the quantity there.

That game was desperately underwhelming – indeed, one statistic showed that inside the first 28 minutes at the Liberty Stadium, he had given the ball away 14 times. Not ideal, even if he had only arrived in the city two days earlier. 

Sanches made his debut for loan-club Swansea City in the side's defeat to Newcastle
Sanches made his debut for loan-club Swansea City in the side's defeat to Newcastle

Sanches made his debut for loan-club Swansea City in the side's defeat to Newcastle

This performance was a touch better, certainly in terms of ball retention. He also went on a few of those runs that looked so good for Portugal in Euro 2016.

But nothing he did led to a chance and or a backside leaving a seat, which was the general expectation. Time and talent make it highly likely that the malaise is only temporary, and it might be that Paul Clement needs to given him the freedom to play further forward.

Until then, the wait for lift-off continues. 

The Swansea midfielder tracks back to defend against Tottenham's Son Heung-min
The Swansea midfielder tracks back to defend against Tottenham's Son Heung-min

The Swansea midfielder tracks back to defend against Tottenham's Son Heung-min

Swansea's Sanches competes for the ball with Christian Eriksen at Wembley on Saturday 
Swansea's Sanches competes for the ball with Christian Eriksen at Wembley on Saturday 

Swansea's Sanches competes for the ball with Christian Eriksen at Wembley on Saturday 

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