There has been plenty of talk surrounding Jadon Sancho’s name in the world of football. The 18-year-old is an exciting talent who could arguably stake a claim for England’s 2022 World Cup team if he can maintain his form and fitness.
Of course, many English fans will be wary of heaping too much pressure on young shoulders, since we seem to be quite good at that as a nation, only to then watch on with bemusement when it all goes wrong.
Sancho though is making headlines for himself at Borussia Dortmund, increasingly showcasing his skills for the first team after his move from Manchester City at the start of last season. His eye-catching performance in Friday night’s 3-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt was the latest episode of his footballing rise.
Three assists in three games for Lucien Favre’s team already this season is a good return. In particular, his eye-catching cutback and astute cross to the unmarked Marius Wolf proved what he is all about. It was quite an impact from the teenager in front of the BT cameras.
Another week, another Jadon Sancho assist! ?
The young Englishman is bossing it for BVB ???????? pic.twitter.com/GHY3Q3ukPw
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 14, 2018
Such an opportunity arises because Sancho relinquished his squad number at Pep Guardiola’s awe-inspiring squad to come to Germany. Rather than being content as a fringe player for a world-class team, Sancho knew his game would only progress with game time. There was no chance of him getting in ahead of the likes of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva and Kevin de Bruyne so the move to the Bundesliga proved a rational decision for him.
The riches on offer in the Premier League (Manchester City roughly have a net spend of £500m since June 2014) means it is impossible for many young players to get regular game time. Their careers can easily stall as a result, even if they may think they have made it by simply being around some of the world’s best players in training alone.
Like Sancho, Reiss Nelson’s move to the Bundesliga is showing early signs of being a shrewd decision. In fact, the signs were instantaneous as Nelson scored with his first shot for 1899 Hoffenheim against Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Nelson, at 19 years of age, made the loan move from Arsenal where he was (like Sancho in England) highly unlikely to get much action on the pitch. Playing in the German first division thus represents a greater pathway than playing reserve team football.
Playing against older, experienced players whose bodies have developed more offers a greater challenge than staying in England and playing against players of the same tender age bracket.
Sancho is by no means guaranteed a starting position at Dortmund with the likes of Marco Reus and Maximilian Philipp around. Indeed, he has not played 60 minutes of football this season, coming on for 13, 11 and 32 minutes respectively in Dortmund’s first three fixtures.
Nevertheless, if he continues to create chances for his teammates in these cameo appearances, Sancho will soon find himself playing regularly in the Bundesliga. The chance to build on last season’s 12 league appearances, four assists and one goal is for him to seize. Champions League game time could subsequently arise too.
Such an opportunity would just not be possible in England.