Borussia Dortmund and England winger Jadon Sancho ranks as one of world football's most exciting young talents. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
Borussia Dortmund and England winger Jadon Sancho ranks as one of world football's most exciting young talents. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Jadon Sancho: 10 things on the Borussia Dortmund and England record-breaker


He is the English footballer who has taken the world by storm, but what else do you know about Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho?

1) Street life

Allow to fill in the gaps with 10 career nuggets on one of the most electrifying young players in the game.

Sancho is one of an endangered species of footballers who learned, developed and honed their skills playing on the streets and in back alleys. Born and raised in the Kennington suburb of London, there was nowhere else to kick a ball about – but that would not temper his desire.

"After school, I just wanted to play football. All around me, there were people who did bad things, but I never wanted to deal with them," he said.

Sancho has his head screwed on and admits it would have been easy to slip into less savoury surroundings.

"What might have happened if I hadn't [focused on football] is with me all the time," he told the BBC.

Watch: Why Jadon Sancho is such an asset to Dortmund

2) The Watford gap

Sancho's great dribbling ability and goalscoring prowess first came to light at Watford, the club he joined as a seven-year-old. Chelsea and Arsenal were two clubs who quickly came knocking, but found the door locked until Sancho turned 14. That is when Manchester City were able to convince him to turn his back on the capital and move north.

"He had this flair, creativity and imagination and a bit of street football within him," said Mark Burton, City's youth phase coordinator to The Mirror.

"Sometimes he goes off the cuff. What we gave him was a bit of discipline within his play but without hopefully killing his flair. We surrounded him with better players that pushed him and put him in an environment that probably got him closer to seeing what professional football looked like."

3) A column with Nelson

Before representing his country, Sancho was named in Southwark's London Youth Games Under-11 team by Sayce Holmes-Lewis – together with his childhood friend Reiss Nelson. They won the tournament in 2011 and left a big impression, not only on their coach.

4) Ambition, drive and determination

"When I saw Jadon and Reiss I thought 'these boys are mad.' Jadon was just making people look stupid. The nutmegs, the skills. Some were outrageous," he told The Mirror.

"Jadon and Reiss were both phenomenal players. You knew they would go into the professional game. They were different from anything out there and had this ability to manipulate the ball at a young age. At times, because of their friendship, it was telepathic between them on the pitch. Jadon was fearless on the pitch when he was in his groove. Growing up in that area of Southwark you had to have something about you to be able to play."

Read: Reiss Nelson and Jadon Sancho: England's 18-year-old best friends causing havoc in the Bundesliga

Sancho was not like the other boys in Watford's academy. At the age of 12, he left his family home in south London – and a daily four-hour commute – to board in the club's Harefield Academy in Uxbridge, where his only thought was football.

Louis Lancaster, his coach in Watford's academy, recalled: "Jadon was someone who needed to be challenged. Some boys are scared of moving up a year, but he embraced it. That was one thing that separated him from the others. As a coach you can measure how many passes they make, how many shots they take, how far they run, but it's the immeasurable qualities that make the difference."

Sancho had that drive, determination and ambition even at such an early age.

"I asked him, 'What's the dream?'" Lancaster told Sky Sports. "He looked me in the eye and said he wanted to play for one of Europe's top clubs and represent his country to make his family proud." He achieved both when he was still just 18.

- © gettyimages / Patrick Stollarz

9) US Tour: before and after

It was just hours before City departed for a tour of the USA in 2017 that Sancho made up his mind that he needed a new challenge. Rather than boarding that plane to the States, he informed their manager Pep Guardiola that he would not be signing a new deal with them. He instead trained in Manchester with the youth team he had belonged to up to then and turned down the chance to be aggregated to the first team upon their return.

"In the last two or three weeks he didn't appear in the training sessions. He should come but he didn't," said Guardiola. ""We tried a lot. We met the father and his manager but if the player says 'no, no, no, no, no', what can we do?"

One year later, Sancho did go Stateside, albeit in a Black and Yellow jersey, and he faced City in a friendly. "I had a point to prove and I think I did well," he said after BVB's 1-0 win in Chicago.

- © gettyimages / Michael Regan