Jadon Sancho: Trailblazer
If you were to ask most football fans ‘who would have the most assists in Europe by the second international break’, you would struggle to find many that nominated Jadon Sancho.
The Englishman has begun the season in scintillating form, sitting atop the assist charts after providing seven goals for his teammates in just 296 minutes of league football for Lucien Favre’s table-topping Borussia Dortmund.
After his sensational start to the season with Die Borussen – and brilliance with England at youth level – Sancho has been called up to England’s senior squad by Gareth Southgate, becoming the first player born in the year 2000 to do so. On Tuesday, he signed a contract extension keeping him with Dortmund until 2022.
At the tender age of 18, a time at which a lot of youngsters can’t even make an omelette, Jadon decided to further his career by moving to Borussia Dortmund. German journalist made an interesting remark on Sancho, saying he “showed unbelievable touches” but also that he had “been a bit inconsistent and made strange decisions”. He ended his debut season with one goal and four assists from 12 Bundesliga games, including seven starts. Impressive for the young player.
“A bit inconsistent and made strange decisions, but that’s probably a function of his youth” Raphael Honigstein on Sancho
Despite his form, Honigstein believes it is too early to consider Sancho a ‘regular starter’ for Dortmund. You could argue that he is too right for our liking, with Sancho even admitting that within his game, he tries to show off too much.
As he makes the necessary progression through the Dortmund system, he will hopefully iron these flaws out, such as not releasing the ball when it needs to be released; because once he does, England have a gem on their hands. He has already proved that he has end product, something many youngsters struggle with.
Some might argue that it is too early to call up the youngster to the senior squad, but I believe if they are good enough, they are old enough. Southgate clearly has seen England missed the trick by not calling up Wilfried Zaha at a younger age, so he does not want to risk it at all with this starlet.
What I see in Jadon is new school winger, who looks to hit the byline and find his teammates, but knows when to exploit the space between the fullbacks and centre-backs when appropriate. Looking to set up his teammates instead of looking for goal is a great trait for a young winger to possess. 13 chances created and 6 of those chances resulting in an assist for Sancho highlight how proficient he is at setting up his colleagues.
The composure in the final third is also evident when watching him. He seems to be the leader of this new generation of English youngsters, ready to go abroad to progress their careers, I wonder if he will become a pivotal part of the England setup by Qatar 2022.