He is only 17, but for Jadon Sancho, he is already being dubbed as the future star for England. But with his recent summer move to German side, Borussia Dortmund, will he be the best young talent in the world, or will the pressure get to him just like players gone before him?
Jadon Sancho started his football career at the Watford academy. They saw a lot of talent, when he joined at the age of just seven. He played there for eight years, but then moved in 2015 to the impressive academy facilities of Manchester City, as he wanted to escalate his career and hopefully one day make it into the first team. He was offered a new £30,000-per-week contract to stay at Manchester City, but he declined the offer and decided to move to Borussia Dortmund for around £8million on the summer deadline day.
The winger has failed to make an appearance for the first team at Dortmund, but he has made two appearances for the second team in the fourth tier of German football. There will come a time that he will be given an opportunity to play in the Bundesliga, and hopefully the Champions League.
The problem for Sancho could be that Borussia Dortmund do have a lot of quality in the wide positions going forward, with Dortmund signing Andriy Yarmolenko and Maximilian Philipp this summer, and also Marco Reus and Christian Pulisic already at the club. Even worse, Sancho could end up not being a part of the future plans at the end of the season, which was what happened to Emre Mor earlier this year, as the 20-year-old left for Spanish club Celta Vigo, only a year after signing for ‘Die Schwarzgelben’ (German for ‘The Yellow-and-Blacks’).
Sancho has been impressive on England duty over the last six months playing for the under-17s and is a crucial player for the Young Lions in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, which is currently taking place. He scored twice in England’s 4-0 win in their first World Cup game against Chile last Sunday, and added to his tally, as they beat Mexico 3-2 on Wednesday. He has scored 14 goals in 17 games for the U17s, which shows his natural goal-scoring capability.
To also mention, Sancho was the player of the tournament in the U-17 European Championships earlier this year in Croatia, as England finished runners-up. In previous tournaments, players like Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas, and Toni Kroos have won this accolade, so it just shows that Sancho does have the potential to become a special talent.
But he has added more than that to his game, as his dribbling ability is second-to-none, taking on players and beating them with ease. I know that when he progresses, it will be harder for him to beat players, but it is refreshing to see players dribble past defenders with such elegance and authority.
The problem with right-footed players on the left-hand side, is the predictability to cut inside on their favoured foot and try and shoot. Modern players don’t try and use their weaker foot when crossing, which could be due to them not practicing on it enough, or they feel more comfortable always crossing on their stronger foot. If he can play with both feet, he will become one very good player.
Could Sancho have been a success if he stayed at Manchester City? At this stage, it is hard to tell, but anything is possible. To be honest, he would only really get an opportunity if there was an injury crisis. It happened to Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, and it has happened to other players before, and it will happen again.
But with Sané and Sterling looking to be first-team regulars for the ‘Sky Blues’ if they play a front three, it will be hard for Sancho to get regular game-time. It is refreshing to see a player wanting to move for first-team football and not for money. Sancho could have stayed at City and be in that comfort zone of the academy, but he has gone left-field and decided to challenge himself by going abroad. We are seeing more young players leaving their academy in England and going on to play ‘men’s’ football, where winning and losing means so much more.
Jadon Sancho has so much potential and has the ability to become one of the best players in the world. But he knows he has got to keep his head down and not get too caught up in thinking that he has already made it. He still has a long way to go, but I think he has the determination and the perseverance to achieve his dream.