Renato Sanches was the best young player at Euro 2016. Since, he hasn’t risen to the heights many expected of him. That’s where new Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovač comes in.
With the new job comes grand expectations, of course. Bayern won the Bundesliga again last season, but that’s never enough. They expect to compete on all fronts, including the Champions League. With a world-class squad at his disposal, the pressure will be on Kovač from the beginning. Yet right now, his focus seems to be on the long-term development of Portuguese midfielder.
Sanches, only 20, is believed to still have plenty of potential. He just hasn’t been able to live up to it since making his move to Bayern in the summer of 2016. Sanches made just 25 appearances across all competitions during the 2016-17 campaign, including 17 Bundesliga caps, but he couldn’t make his mark. The following season would see him loaned to Premier League side Swansea City where he made just 15 appearances. Again, he couldn’t make his mark.
But Kovač believes he’s starting to “unfreeze” under his tutelage, and it started with Bayern’s 3-1 win over PSG Saturday morning. Per ESPN’s Mark Lovell, the new boss is excited for the future.
“I’m pleased for Renato who hasn’t had an easy time here in Munich. But I saw immediately on my first day he’s got a great body language. He’s a top-quality player and I notice him unfreezing a little.”
Again, it’s been all downhill since Euro 2016 for Sanches. He still cannot find his footing. Time will tell, but Kovač could very well be the guy to turn his career around.
“If he has the necessary self-confidence he knows what he is capable of,” he adds. “When you give him the necessary self confidence and recognition, then you can always perform…”
Will Sanches finally shine?