Gary Neville’s criticism of Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez proved to be on the money as Arsenal limped past Doncaster Rovers in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
Neville said Sanchez had allowed speculation over his future to affect his performances, and the 28-year-old did little to disprove the former Manchester United defender’s views with a largely uninspiring display against the League One side.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Neville said that Sanchez’s mind has been elsewhere for the last six months.
“His career at Arsenal, I couldn’t say a bad word about him until two or three months before the end of last season,” he said.
“I did feel he became distracted. Let’s see how he performs this season.
“Ultimately he’s still building up his fitness, he’s still not in the team.
“What I saw from Arsenal (against Chelsea) on Sunday was a performance that I liked, and I’ve not said that too often about them in big games over the last four or five years. Sanchez wasn’t on the pitch – Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck were playing.
“What it showed for Arsenal on Sunday was that if you get players who work together and stick to a game plan, you can perform, sometimes better than with players who have got more talent.
“Sanchez has always been a hard worker. He needs to get back to doing that for Arsenal first, because they’ve got big games coming up.”
Sanchez was nowhere near his best against Doncaster as the Gunners progressed to the fourth round courtesy of a 1-0 victory.
Arsenal played well at Chelsea in the Premier League last weekend and manager Arsene Wenger must now decide whether to start the forward against West Brom next Monday.
Based on last night’s performance you’d be hard pushed to say Sanchez did enough to warrant selection, but an injury to Welbeck could force Wenger’s hand.