Jadon Sancho has skyrocketed to stardom since joining Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2017. From raw talent to world-class star, the Englishman has established himself as one of the best players in the Bundesliga and one of European football's biggest talents.
Now, speaking exclusively to bundesliga.com, Sancho discusses playing with another world-beating star, Erling Haaland, what he's learned most at Dortmund and why he wishes he could play football every day until he was 100.
bundesliga.com: Jadon Sancho, are you actually able to put into words what you've experienced over the last two years with Borussia Dortmund?
Jadon Sancho: "Yeah, it's crazy what's happened over the last two years, but again, I kept on believing and working hard and I got the opportunity to play for this great club and I'm just happy the way it's gone."
bundesliga.com: Did you have any doubts that you could replicate your incredible performances from last season this season?
Sancho: "I didn't have doubts, no. For me, I knew what I could do and again every season I set a target, and I'm getting closer to this target this season. Obviously beating last season's record, and for me, it's about competing with myself. I feel like that's what makes me want to win and do well for the team and do the things I do on the pitch."
bundesliga.com: You're surrounded by a lot of talented players at Dortmund but you're the club's top scorer and assist provider in the Bundesliga so far this season. Are you proud of that?
Sancho: "Yeah, there's a lot of great players. But again, I don't really look at that kind of thing, I just want my team to do well and obviously I give my best every game."
bundesliga.com: Obviously you have some new competition as the club's top scorer in Erling Haaland. You must be delighted that he's joined the club?
Sancho: "Yeah, I'm happy he's here. He's a great goalscorer. He scores in every type of position and it's always good to have that main striker. Playing behind him and with him is just a great feeling, especially on the training pitch because we work on a lot of things like one-twos. I know where to find him and where he wants the ball, and he knows how I want the ball played to me - so it's a good understanding between us."
Watch: Haaland and Sancho, Dortmund's teenage dream team!
bundesliga.com: Do you think you'll have a better chance of getting even more assists now with him in the squad?
Sancho: "Hopefully, hopefully. If he scores!"
bundesliga.com: What's the mindset that you take into a game for Dortmund, how do you prepare yourself?
Sancho: "I just want to do the best for my team and again, it's a nice feeling to win. I'm just trying to be a winner and have that winning mentality every game I go into... Before a game, probably listen to my music. And because I know all the fans are watching, especially if it's cold, I want them to do more than just come and support us, I want them to go home smiling and be happy that they came out to the end and watched us win."
bundesliga.com: How would you describe the way you play football?
Sancho: "Just being free and expressing myself. I think that's the best way to describe me playing football. Just being free, and showing what I can do on the pitch."
Watch: All of Sancho's goals and assists from the first half of this season!
bundesliga.com: And how do you feel being out on the pitch?
Sancho: "I just feel like I'm in my happy place."
bundesliga.com: When did that feeling begin happening?
Sancho: "From very young - I just love football. You can't really take that out of me - I just love the game and love the sport. So yeah, if I had a choice I'd play every day until I'm 100 years old. But unfortunately, some time I'll have to step down from football when my body gets old... But football will be my first love forever."
bundesliga.com: If there is anything, what is the least enjoyable thing about football for you?
Sancho: "The least? I'd probably say... I don't think there is one. Because if you think about it, recovery is vital to how you play your next game. The gym makes you become a better person physically, and you're more stable on the pitch and yeah, what we do here, it helps me every day. So I wouldn't change anything."
bundesliga.com: There's a big game coming up soon for you and Dortmund when you take on Schalke in the Revierderby. How do you feel looking ahead to that game on Matchday 26?
Sancho: "Of course it's going to be a very important game. For us, it's a must-win game because we're at home and obviously last year when they played us at home we lost to them. It's about giving payback, and it's a big game for the Dortmund fans and for us as well. Everyone wants to win a derby game, so I'm sure we'll be up and ready for that game."
bundesliga.com: While Schalke might be the most important game for the fans, playing Bayern Munich might be more important for your season. Is that another must-win game when you host them two weeks after Schalke?
Sancho: "Yeah, I feel like every game in the Bundesliga is a must-win game, because looking at last year's results you could see we drew to some teams while after taking the lead, and we should have won the game. If we'd got those points, maybe we'd have been champions. So every game is vital, but again, game-by-game."
bundesliga.com: Do you think that game against Bayern will be the most important in deciding where the title goes this season?
Sancho: "No, there's several still. The table is still close. Anything can happen, anything can turn around just like that. So again, game-by-game, every game is vital, every game we need the three points. I think the team knows that, and every game we go into we're going to give 100%."
bundesliga.com: Dortmund have still been suffering some of those defeats you mentioned, losing from winning positions. Why do you think that happens?
Sancho: "I don't know, I feel like some teams get lucky. They might score crazy goals against us which is annoying. But again, just like this time last year, we've got major injuries now. [Julian] Brandt is out, Marco [Reus] is out, they're very big players to us, so it's unfortunate, but again, we young players have to step up, like me, Gio [Reyna] and Haaland. We've got to step up and try to score the goals, and I think we're capable of doing that if we keep focused and keep working hard."
bundesliga.com: What else do you think Dortmund need to be champions?
Sancho: "Personally, I think when we go in front we need to just keep our focus. When we score, they score straight away, and they get back into the game - I feel like we need to be stronger in that, but other than that, I feel like we play very good football, we connect well, we get great opportunities to score and as you can see we’ve scored, what is it, 19 goals in the last four games? So it's about keeping that winning mentality to the last whistle."
bundesliga.com: You've had an incredibly rapid rise to fame personally. Is there anything you haven't enjoyed about it?
Sancho: "Not yet, I haven't found anything that I dislike. Maybe when I'm older, something might happen, but for now, I'm happy. I'm very happy."
Watch: Sancho loving life in Dortmund
bundesliga.com: What would you say is the thing you have learned most since you have been in Dortmund?
Sancho: "I'd probably say... Ooh, it's a good question. Probably just being more mature on the pitch. Because making that big step from youth football to professional first-team football, obviously, in the youth team, I'd do things like hold onto the ball for too long and just knowing now when to release the ball and keeping your head in the game when you get tired. That's another thing that's changed me since playing professional football because when you get tired usually people's heads go and you lack focus, and tiredness starts to creep in and you move sloppily. But now, I feel like I've got the right balance and the right team to help me keep focused until the 90th minute."
bundesliga.com: As we've mentioned, there are a lot of talented players around you at Dortmund. One of the latest of those is Gio Reyna. What are your thoughts on him?
Sancho: "I think he's a great player, and I feel like he's going to be one of the next best players here at Dortmund. I'm just happy to see him play and play with him every week, and I'm just excited for what happens next. He knows that he can express himself whenever because I just make him feel comfortable when he's in the changing room, I always speak with him, especially because me and him are obviously English-speaking and we understand each other. But I just welcomed him and made sure he felt comfortable."
bundesliga.com: Looking ahead to the summer, how much are you looking forward to the European Championships?
Sancho: "Hopefully, if I get picked! That’s my main thing. I would love to get picked. It would be my first major competition with England, and obviously doing that at my age would be an amazing feeling for me and my family. It would be a great achievement for me personally, so I can’t wait, but again I have to focus on BVB at the moment, because you never know, anything could happen during the season. Touch wood I’m fit and able to play, but until then, good vibes.”
bundesliga.com: Do you think there's a chance you could be coming home with the trophy?
Sancho: "What, to win the Euros? I think we've got a good chance. We have great players. I’m sure we'll all know we have a good chance because we have our games in England, so it's a big advantage for us. We know we have to perform in front of our fans."