This is a guest post by Dino Marcou
Jadon Sancho is the latest player in the long list of exciting prospects to come out of England. At 17 years of age, the winger who has a great abundance of pace about him has already represented his country at U16 and U17 level and has featured 11 and 19 times respectively and scored 7 and 16 goals respectively. Sancho at the tender age of 17, is a very promising, exciting winger and much has been said about him and what he does and what he will bring to the game.
Sancho, who has yet to earn a senior England call up, knows if he performs well at his new club Borussia Dortmund could potentially become a wildcard in the England squad for next summer’s World Cup in Russia or the next European Championships in just like Theo Walcott was under the management of Sven Goran Eriksson for the 2006 World Cup in Germany when he was just 17. The career of Jadon Sancho looks to rise all the time, and with current top young talented stars playing their trade in Europe i.e. the likes of Asensio, Rashford, Mbappe etc, with minutes and ever-growing experience at his new club could see him become one of the finest wingers this country has ever produced playing at a club that celebrates young talent coming through.
Who is Jadon Sancho?
Jadon Sancho was born in South London and started his footballing career at Watford at the age of 7 during 2007 right up until 2015. The England youth international then moved to Manchester City at the age of 15 which he continued to impress in the academy system, where he built on an encouraging first campaign to shoot to prominence the following season (2016/17), scoring 12 goals and providing four assists in 14 matches. Sancho also netted twice in the UEFA Youth League, the youth equivalent of the famous UEFA Champions League competition.
For all his impressive work in such a little space of time, Sancho was rewarded and therefore promoted to Manchester City’s reserve side, where once again showing everyone how highly rated he was by scoring three goals and providing two assists in the process. Sancho unfortunately, was never given the chance to make his debut for the club at senior level, which shows that some well-established Premier League clubs’ reluctance to give young home-grown players a chance than it does about Sancho’s obvious talented gift he can give to the club.
Further evidence on the grandest stage internationally came in his performances for England. After bagging six goals for the U16 side, Sancho then scored an impressive 13 goals in 16 matches as well as providing a further seven assists which inspired his country during the summer’s UEFA Euro 2017 final which took place in Croatia. England were eventually beaten on penalties by eventual winners Spain, but Sancho’s impressive tally of five goals and assists apiece earned him the player of the tournament accolade. The accolade which has been won in the past by footballing European talents such as Mario Gotze, Toni Kroos, Cesc Fabregas and Wayne Rooney, Sancho will be looking to follow these footballing greats and make a name for himself in the game. On his summer move to Dortmund, Sancho stated ” It was a difficult decision, but the time is right for a new challenge where I can start to fulfil my potential” as Dortmund acted promptly to sign of the rising stars of the beautiful game. Sancho was determined from a young age, where development is so crucial to their hopes of playing regular first team football that he had to go to a club where young talent is celebrated, and given a chance to express themselves rather than sit on the side-lines not being able to be given a real chance to show the club what they can do. Although he has fierce attacking competition at the club such as the likes of Marco Reus, Andre Schurrle, Christian Pulisic etc, Sancho knows he is at a club that embeds young talent into the foundation of where the clubs want to go and this was enough to convince Sancho that this is the right club for him.
What is his Style of Play?
Jadon Sancho can be likened to the likes of Ousmane Dembele, and Leroy Sane, Sancho is a player who has blistering pace, Sancho can also play on either flank which makes him versatile, therefore an attractive option for the manager. Following the recent departure of Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona, the right-hand flank was vacated for a short space of time, Sancho should turn out to be a great fit for the club, particularly for a club who plays on the counter attack. With Dortmund’s talisman Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, the lightning quick Gabonese striker will benefit highly from Sancho’s quick movement and looking to find his man quick from a wide position. Sancho often likes to cut inside whilst on either foot and is very effective in a 1v1 situation with a defender and is not afraid to take his man on and beat him with his close ball control.
Sancho has great mental strength and shows maturity about his game despite his delicate age. His decision making on the ball often sets him aside from players his age, where he often cuts inside from a wide position looking to unleash a shot to beat the keeper as any typical forward attacker would. Sancho never panics when he is in this position, and often creates something out of nothing, the exciting winger plays the game like he has been in the game for many years. As previously stated joining Watford at the age of seven, being raised in a dangerous area in South London, he has kept his feet firmly on the ground and his performances for club and country have certainly come a long way in showing why a whole host of clubs were circling around him once he decided to leave England and seek pastures new.
What are his Strengths?
Attacking wise, Sancho’s game is well rounded and near complete, as he specialises and possess intelligent characteristics when playing in his favourite preferred wide position. As a winger,’ it is vitally important to be aware of what is around you and use the space that is given intelligently, whilst also being able to find your man with a cross well, so the striker can thrive on this and ultimately score a goal.
Despite his early years, Sancho shows a great deal of calmness and composure on the ball, whilst relying on his natural speed to help him navigate through a match, and to ultimately give him an extra yard or two to beat his defender. Sancho has great mental strength and shows great character, and despite his rapid early career rise has kept him feet filmy on the ground, and has objectives: to learn as much as he can, to unlock his gifted potential and be one of the world’s best in the future.
“After school I always just wanted to play football, around me a lot of people were doing some bad things, but I didn’t want anything to do with that.” He told German daily outlet BILD website, by that time Sancho had already begun to keep focused on what he really wanted to achieve moving forward.
Sancho, despite being an out an out natural mercurial winger, can also be deployed in a number 10, position, the position that is occupied just behind the striker. Sancho certainly has the capabilities to play in more than one attacking position, and when he develops his game he could potentially play in another attacking position.
Despite his early rise to stardom at Manchester City and England, Sancho goes about his work in the upmost professional way and is not afraid to express himself on the ball for when he is trying his man or looking to take a player on and get through on goal. Sancho also likes to provide assists, and you can often see him looking to provide deadly through balls to unlock stubborn defences. This transmits to his game, and truly shows the self-belief and inner confidence that he has and reflects well, which in the bigger picture will show the world his true footballing ability.
What are his Weaknesses?
For all the strengths that a modern-day winger possesses, of course weaknesses follow. Sancho is a quality winger; however, it can be said that sometimes he can be a little too predictable and one dimensional. Instead of looking to go about it differently he may take on a defender too many times, and could look to release the ball quicker, and become unpredictable, but this will come with age and experience, and it will be a learning curve for him.
If Sancho wants to improve his game greater whilst still young and get into good footballing habits, then he will need to create a balance in his play and develop plays in his game where it is hard for the opposition to figure him out. This will help him, and stop causing a hindrance in attacking play, but being at Dortmund, he will learn that.
To adapt to a new league is always very difficult, and takes many months to adapt to certain situations. Playing in a competitive league in the Bundesliga can take months to get used to, there will be certain departments in his game where he will need to develop to make his adaptation to the German division a little easier. This could mean not to expect to start week in week out, and instead being patient for the chance to come his way, and just work hard in training and adapt to the methods of the coach in training.
It is only natural that a new player in a league takes a while to settle to the mental and physical demands of a new environment. On the 21 October, Sancho made his debut for his new club against fellow Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt, coming on as a substitute with 6 minutes left of the game, which saw him become the first Englishman to play for Dortmund in the Bundesliga. Achieving such a feat at a young age is every young person dream growing up and therefore despite this remarkable achievement, has the potential to achieve bigger and better things for his new club. Dortmund, are a club that as previously stated celebrate young talent, so going to a club of Dortmund at this stage of his career is the perfect opportunity for Sancho to show the footballing world, he is the real deal.