Is Borussia Dortmund Forward Jadon Sancho England’s Answer to Neymar?
A product of Manchester City’s youth academy, Jadon Sancho recently signed a new contract with German giants Borussia Dortmund, tying him to the club for a further four years. He made a bold decision, at 17, stepping out of his comfort zone and signing for Dortmund. Commanding a fee of £7million, he is, without doubt, the most high-profile Englishman currently plying their trade outside of England.
Now 18, he has started the 2018/19 season like a house on fire. He currently leads Europe’s top five leagues in assists with five. He’s also contributed one goal in his six Bundesliga appearances so far – and he is yet to even start!
Dan Micciche, who coached Sancho at under‑15 and under-16 level for England and Dele Alli at MK Dons, had this to say about the teenager’s potential: “Provided he doesn’t become restricted he could be our Neymar-type player – in terms of being unpredictable, playing on that left-hand side.
“And he’s flamboyant, entertaining to watch. But like Neymar, he’s effective with it. In most games he’ll create something – it’s not a beauty contest. He’s not on the pitch flicking it over someone’s head for the sake of it.” he added.
He was forced to leave the Etihad to avoid being lost in the multi-million-pound shuffle of superstars at Manchester City. Now, Sancho is honing his craft at the famed Borussia Dortmund academy.
Sancho was handed the number seven shirt upon his arrival, vacated after Ousmane Dembele’s departure for Barcelona. The Dortmund youth set-up is famed for producing the likes of Lars Ricken, Kevin Grosskreutz, Marcel Schmelzer, Nuri Sahin, Marco Reus and Mario Goetze. The 18-year old is undoubtedly in good hands.
Last season he experienced an injury-hit campaign under Thomas Tuchel, however, he did start the last four league games of the season for Dortmund, including a very impressive performance against Bayer Leverkusen, contributing two assists and a goal in a 4-0 romp in April. His four straight starts wouldn’t be a sign of things to come, however.
After Thomas Tuchel’s departure for Paris Saint-Germain, young Jadon has had to start all over again in convincing new boss Lucien Favre that he is ready to start. Dortmund currently sit pretty at the top of the Bundesliga after this past weekend’s comeback triumph at Leverkusen. Sancho came off the bench to create two goals in their 4-2 win. In only 124 minutes of football, the youngster has racked up five assists and a goal so far this season.
Manager Lucien Favre is no stranger to the Bundesliga. He has previously managed Borussia Monchengladbach and Hertha Berlin for a combined six and a half years. The French manager is known for integrating young talents carefully into the first-team setups, having previously introduced the likes of Andreas Christensen (now at Chelsea), Mahmoud Dahoud (now playing under him at Dortmund), Joshua King (now at Bournemouth in the Premier League), Amin Younes (now at Napoli), Granit Xhaka (now at Arsenal) and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (now at Barcelona) into his squads.
England and Gareth Southgate
Jadon Sancho was part of England’s U17 World Cup winning squad last year. It was England’s first World Cup triumph at any level since 1966 and Sancho was one of the stars.
There is no doubt Gareth Southgate will be aware of the teenager’s exploits in Germany. One can only wonder how long it will be before he is capped for the senior team. England could certainly do with a dynamic wide man with Jesse Lingard the only recognised wide player in the latest England squad.