Jadon Sancho has been making great strides at Borussia Dortmund since his arrival in Germany last summer. - © © imago / Eibner
Jadon Sancho has been making great strides at Borussia Dortmund since his arrival in Germany last summer. - © © imago / Eibner

Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho on his injury comeback, maturing in the Bundesliga and playing in front of the Yellow Wall

He's one of the rising stars of the game, a young English talent brought up learning slick street skills and honing them in the Bundesliga, and for Borussia Dortmund talent Jadon Sancho, the adventure has only just begun.

Almost seven months on following his switch from Manchester City, things have been progressing rapidly for the Londoner famed for his exquisite moments of dribbling mastery.

Recently recovered from the ankle ligament injury sustained at the beginning of February, Sancho made a scoring return for England in their 4-1, UEFA European Under 19 Championship qualifying win against Hungary on 21 March. Now back up and running, the promising forward is looking forward to picking up where he left off at Dortmund.

Watch: Jadon Sancho is already a Bundesliga Rookie award winner!

“It’s been, how would I say it in one word, it’s been good, yeah," Sancho said of the start to his adventures in Germany's top division. "Obviously, making my debut was a proud moment, playing a full 90 minutes for the first time, playing in front of the yellow wall. It’s different, something I’ve never experienced before, so it has been good.”

The first Englishman to play for BVB in the Bundesliga, Sancho had no idea he would be making his way onto the grandest stage so soon after his arrival from England. "I didn’t expect it so early," he said. "Obviously the manager had faith in me and put me in early, so I’m just grateful.”

Helping Sancho along the way, a dressing room full of stars have been there to provide plenty of moral support and encouragement on what would for any normal teenager, have been an intimidating experience adapting to a new life, culture and language, all the while playing for one of the world's biggest clubs.

Sancho has been receiving plenty of support from the Dortmund dressing room. - © imago

“I would say Mari Götze, Nuri Şahin [in particular helped me]. They talk to me quite a lot and obviously [are] telling me to express myself; just be comfortable and be yourself. They take the pressure off, so it’s decent," he explained.

"They just want to help me improve as a player. That’s really generous of them, because they’re big players in the game, they don’t have to do it, but they want to help me improve, so I’m grateful they’re doing that. He (Şahin) told me about when he was 16. He knows how it feels to be so young and playing, so his advice is helping me as a player, so I’m grateful.”

Another key figure helping Sancho along is Dortmund coach Peter Stöger, who was interested in taking the youngster to Cologne when the tactician was in charge of the Billy Goats earlier this season.

“He likes me as a player," Sancho revealed. "I never knew this, but which club was he at before, Cologne, yeah he wanted me to go there, so him coming to Dortmund has really helped me. He wanted me at Cologne, now he has got me. He trusts me and obviously thinks I’m a good player and I’m just grateful that he trusts me.”

Sancho (r.) celebrates a goal with Shinji Kagawa in front of Dortmund's Yellow Wall. - © gettyimages / Lars Baron

The magnitude of playing elite level football at such a tender age - Sancho has made six Bundesliga appearances to date - has forced the player to dispense with on-field invention for now. "[If playing] in my own age group, I would try new things which are not realistic, but playing in the first team you just have to think fast and play hard, it has made me mature as a player," he said. "I usually play hard in most games, I try my best, I get used to it after a while.”

Feeling ever more comfortable in Germany - where he has been joined by his father - Sancho is beginning to appreciate the differences that exist to life in his new footballing home compared to what he had previously been used to. Dortmund's famed Yellow Wall - the vast bank of supporters that stand in the Westfalenstadion's Südtribüne - is one of those phenomenon that is unique in world football, and something that the 17-year-old is growing to appreciate.

“Well, when I first saw the yellow wall, I was nervous," he said. "I say the word nervous, it’s not scary, just nerves. I’m still young, so me watching it on TV and then experiencing it is so different. Everyone cheering is just a good vibe. It’s really good for young players to experience that so young.

"In the Premier League, people don’t really stand, so it’s different, that’s what I like about the yellow wall – a lot of people willing to stand and cheer for the whole game. I think that's what makes it so good.”

With just seven Bundesliga games to go this term, Dortmund are hoping for an exceptional end to a campaign where an attainable second-place finish would provide be a happy ending to a season that faltered badly after a strong start in the early stages.

For Sancho, it's merely a case of taking things a step at a time on his own personal road to progress. “I’m just going to take it as it comes," he said. "I don’t know the next steps, I just want to keep on playing well and try stay in the team as long as possible. That’s one of my main aims.”

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