Jadon Sancho isn’t dreaming. As manic and audacious as he may seem with the ball at his feet, in person, he’s laid-back and borderline shy. The unbelievable hype generated around him, particularly in his homeland, just seems to roll off him as if it were water landing on a Teflon jersey. ''I don’t let all of that get to me. That being said, the fact that Dortmund is a fair few miles away from England probably helps a bit.'' But more than anything else, it’s the young man’s attitude that helps keep him grounded. In a 2018 interview with the club magazine Borussia, Sancho said: ''I’m a really normal guy. I just want to play football and keep improving. That’s all I’m focused on at the moment. There are loads of negative examples of talented young players who got it in their heads that they were better than others.'' That always stays in his field of vision, just like his better-placed team-mates.
The numbers alone demonstrate Sancho’s exceptional talent. In the 2018/19 Bundesliga season, Sancho was the sole Borussia player to appear in all 34 matches. He topped the league-wide assists table with 19 (Julian Brandt and Joshua Kimmich were both behind him on 17) , while his 12 goals on top of that meant he led his team in scorer points and ranked second in the league overall. Since records began in 1992/93, only one other Dortmund player has ever notched up more assists in a season: Henrikh Mkhitaryan in 2015/16 (20 assists). In his 43 total appearances across all competitions, Sancho was involved in 34 goals (13 goals, 21 assists). Only club captain Marco Reus registered a higher number of scorer points (36).
In Dortmund, Jadon Sancho has found himself in the exact situation he’d hoped for before his move from Manchester City: ''There are few other clubs in Europe that place as much emphasis on youth as BVB.'' It therefore comes as little surprise that he feels so at home in the Ruhr and has thus decided to sign a contract extension keeping him at the club until 2022. Although full of personal ambition, team objectives remain the most important thing for the young Englishman: ''We have real leaders like Marco Reus and Mario Götze - players like that are so important for the team. We have some players who are very experienced at international level – and a lot of talented youngsters as well. It’s a great mixture and it gives us a wealth of options. Everyone in the Bundesliga is afraid of Bayern Munich. We need to get to the point where they’re afraid of BVB too,'' says Sancho.
Despite his dizzying achievements thus far, the young Englishman and his German employer seem to be remaining calm. The same, however, can’t be said for the newspapers in his native country, who are seemingly in daily competition with one another to come up with the most hype-filled headline. According to the Daily Mail, Sancho is ''the most exciting prospect in European football,'' while The Guardian have described him as ''a street footballer with the potential to become the English Neymar.''
Sancho spent his childhood in the London area of Kennington. ''Life there would not have been too good for me because there were a lot of bad people," he confided in a 2018 interview with BBC Sport: "I just wanted to get away. What might have happened to me if I hadn't is something I think about all the time." His outstanding footballing talent brought him to Watford at 12 years of age and on to Manchester City at 14. Then, in August 2017, he took the bold decision to move to Dortmund, where he is determined to learn German in order to integrate: ''I'm fortunate enough to have my family here with me. That does me a lot of good,'' says the young talent, who already has a winner’s medal in the U17 World Cup to his name. Sancho, who scored three goals and provided two assists in the group stage, had to leave the tournament early in order to make his debut first-team appearance for his new club. Fortunately, his teammates were able to go all the way without him. In October 2018, Sancho won his first senior cap in a Nations League match against Croatia - making him the first English player born after 2000 to represent the Three Lions.