Jadon Sancho has gone from strength to strength since landing at Borussia Dortmund as a 17-year-old in summer 2017.
bundesliga.com crunches the frankly ridiculous numbers behind the young Englishman’s stratospheric ascent that has shown no sign of abating in 2019/20.
"Sancho is one of the best young players at the moment in world football, especially when you look at his actual stats for Borussia Dortmund.”
Those were the words of ex-England international Jamie Carragher, echoed soon after by Sancho’s fellow edge-of-your-seat winger, Neymar.
The Brazilian was right to call Sancho a “special player”. You need only open your eyes and witness the 19-year-old causing havoc week in, week out to see what Neymar’s getting at. But Carragher’s comment suggested something more tangible, something you can reach out and touch; irrefutable evidence of how exceptional the Dortmund man is. And - as the stats show - Sancho is on another level this season.
Watch: Jadon Sancho is improving all the time, and now has Erling Haaland by his side!
Sancho = Goals
Sancho was involved in more Bundesliga goals (26) than any other player not named Robert Lewandowski (29) in 2018/19. Little over halfway into 2019/20, he has already scored one more goal (13) than his efforts last year and is just one assist away from matching his 2018/19 league-best return of 14, having played 14 games fewer.
The Londoner has surpassed Lukas Podolski as the youngest Bundesliga player to score nine senior goals (18 years and 336 days); become the German top-flight’s youngest player to 22 goals; and ranks as the first teenager in Bundesliga history to reach 25 goals.
The most recent milestone lands in a remarkable sequence that has seen Sancho score 10 times in his last 11 matches, during which time he has bagged a goal and an assist in the same game on seven separate occasions. In total, he has ended up in both columns nine times in 2019/20 so far, compared to three times the year prior.
The Messi dataset
A supreme maker and taker of chances, Sancho is the first player in Europe’s top-five leagues to register double-figure returns for both goals and assists this season, a feat even more impressive when you take stock of the fact that he isn’t out of his teens until 25 March. And, for perspective, Sancho is having a greater influence on goals than Lionel Messi did at the same stage in his career.
Sancho played his 50th league game for Dortmund on Matchday 4 of the current campaign - providing a customary brace of assists in the process - taking his tally to 15 goals and 22 assists in total at the time. It meant he had been involved in a goal every 1.3 Bundesliga games, a markedly better return than a 19-year-old Messi (one goal every 2.2 games).
The law of averages
The upward tick continues when you stack up the averages. Sancho makes more passes per game (51.2) than last season (37), completing just under 85 per cent of them. He's also having more touches per game (74.5 to 66.3), has already fired off nearly as many shots (39 to 41) and finds the target more regularly, with every three shots testing the keeper, against every 3.4.
It has resulted in an even more potent Sancho, who in 2019/20 is on the scoresheet every 1.5 games and every 124 minutes, compared to every 2.8 games and 205 minutes in 2018/19. Mind boggling, right?
Well, it doesn’t stop there: Sancho is covering more ground this season and, on average, gets through seven miles of running per game. Those numbers suggest Sancho is working harder than ever before for the cause, and his selfless streak is reflected in his improved count for average crosses per game (1.2). The increased output of deliveries from out wide has already led to as many goals as last season from Sancho crosses (two) and one more shot at goal by his teammates (five).
Lean, mean goalscoring machine
When Sancho isn’t providing the ammunition, he’s firing himself, with 11 goals arriving via his right foot and two on his left so far this term. He may still be searching for a first headed goal in the Bundesliga, but Sancho has been far more ruthless in leading Dortmund’s lightning-quick counter-attacks and has provided the finishing touch four times on the break, three more than over the course of 2018/19.
Sancho has developed into a frightening forward over the course of three years in Black and Yellow, and already has 26 goals and 31 assists from 66 Bundesliga
appearances - and counting.
Opposition defences are already sick of the sight of him and if Sancho finds the back of the net, teams may as well pack up their bags and head for the exit as Dortmund have never lost with their England international on the scoresheet. That record spans 29 league games without defeat (W18, D11), and this season Sancho scored in nine of BVB’s 10 victories with him in the side.
It’s terrifying, but the scariest thing is that Sancho only looks like improving on those astonishing numbers.