Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho has insisted that he is ready to step up and become an integral part of Lucien Favre's starting XI after another sensational performance off the bench against Bayer Leverkusen.
Jacob Bruun Larsen had just brought Dortmund back to 2-1 at the BayArena when Sancho joined the fray in the 68th minute, replacing Christian Pulisic. A minute later, he picked up a long throw from Roman Bürki, jinked past an opponent and set off on a mazy run that would result in Marco Reus' equaliser.
"Because I got subbed on, I had a lot of energy," Sancho told bundesliga.com. "I saw Marco Reus – he and I link up very well – I trusted him and he trusted me. After the first lay-off, one-two, it was an easy goal. That's what happens when you work hard in training. It comes off on the pitch."
With Sancho and fellow substitute Paco Alcacer adding fresh impetus to their attack, the Black-and-Yellows continued to pour forward in waves until the Spaniard grabbed their third goal five minutes from time. The former Barcelona forward even added a fourth deep in injury time after being set up by Sancho's pin-point through ball.
"I just had a bit more energy, you know," the Englishman reiterated. "The rest were a bit tired and I came on to help the team. The coach keeps rotating so that's how strong this team is. Obviously, I don't want to be a sub – but if I keep on working hard hopefully I can get in the starting XI."
Watch: Sancho scored and assisted in Dortmund's 7-0 win over Nuremberg!
The 18-year-old is certainly doing everything he can to convince the Swiss coach he is worthy of a place on the teamsheet. His two assists against Leverkusen brought his season tally to five, putting him top of the charts in both the Bundesliga and across Europe. In his six substitute appearances, he has had a hand in a goal every 21 minutes.
"When our opponents ease off a little and Jadon comes into the game, he's a weapon for us every single time," Reus said after the 7-0 thrashing of Nuremberg, in which Sancho scored one and set up another for Julian Weigl. "We're happy to have him up our sleeve and he always gives us a boost."
The blossoming relationship between the Dortmund captain and the England U19 international will also be giving Favre food for thought. Sancho also set Reus up for his late goal in the 4-1 win over RB Leipzig on the opening day, and the young winger is delighted to be learning from one of the best in the business.
"We just have that special connection," he explained. "He reads me, I read him, and he teaches me a lot of things. He teaches me to be mature on the ball. At first I wasn't mature but he told me to be calm and just play my game, and that helped me a lot. Obviously, he's a great player and I'm so happy I'm playing with him."
Dortmund have two more home games before the international break, entertaining Monaco in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday before welcoming Augsburg to the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday. In order to keep their unbeaten record intact, it may be time for the Bundesliga leaders to give supersub Sancho a more significant role from the start.