Jadon Sancho's path from Man City reserves to England squad and Borussia Dortmund

Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho has assisted a goal every 73.5 minutes in the Bundesliga since joining Dortmund last year

Jadon Sancho has been named in the senior England squad, just over a year after deciding to leave Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund in the quest for first-team football.

BBC Sport takes a closer look at the 18-year-old winger's rapid progression.

Sancho decides to leave City

Sancho, at the age of 17, made the brave decision to leave Premier League title favourites Manchester City - and the tutelage of Pep Guardiola - last summer.

The England youth international joined City from Watford at the age of 14 and played regularly in 2016-17 in the under-18 league and the Uefa Youth League - as well as seven appearances in the Premier League 2, England's reserve league.

City had offered him a new deal and planned to take him to the United States for their pre-season tour last summer.

But, worried about his first-team chances, Sancho turned down the deal - which Guardiola said he had already agreed to sign - with the manager adding that the teenager then stopped turning up for training after City returned from the US.

German writer Raphael Honigstein said on this week's BBC Euro Leagues Football Show: "Sancho didn't believe City when they said he'd get chances."

Football journalist Julien Laurens added: "Manchester City's side of things is disappointing. When you have that talent in your academy, they've invested a lot of time and money into him, and then they never finished the whole experiment with Jadon Sancho.

"I think it's such a shame we don't see him in a City shirt working with Pep Guardiola."

Dortmund sign Sancho - and give him number seven shirt

Sancho tries to emulate Ronaldinho skills

Sancho made the surprise move to Borussia Dortmund on deadline day in the summer of 2017 - and was instantly given the squad number left vacant by Ousmane Dembele's £135.5m switch to Barcelona - seven.

"I would have taken any number but getting seven was a big boost to my confidence," he told BBC Sport in February. "It doesn't faze me. It is about coming here and proving myself."

However, he was left out of their Champions League squad and was still waiting for clearance to play in the Bundesliga several weeks into last season because of Fifa's checks on international moves involving players under the age of 18.

Sancho recalled from Under-17 World Cup - and gets his Dortmund career going

The teenager was called up to the England Under-17 World Cup squad in October 2017, although Dortmund only allowed him to go to India after protracted negotiations.

Sancho scored three goals in three group games - but was then recalled by the German club before the knockout stages.

England U17 boss Steve Cooper said: "I can only imagine Dortmund want him back to play in their first team at the weekend and I assume he will be starting for them, because I can't think of a reason why you would take a player away from a World Cup."

Sancho duly made his Dortmund debut days later, as a late substitute against Eintracht Frankfurt, and also featured against Bayern Munich two weeks later.

England went on to win the Under-17 World Cup, with Sancho getting a winner's medal.

A spell out of the Dortmund team - during which he made his England Under-19 debut - was followed by three consecutive Bundesliga starts that saw him assist his first goal in a 1-1 draw with Hertha Berlin, before a ligament injury kept him out for eight games.

"He's showed some unbelievable touches since getting into the Dortmund team in the winter," said Honigstein. "But he has also been a bit inconsistent and made strange decisions, but that's probably a function of his youth."

Sancho scores first Dortmund goal

Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho became the youngest Englishman to score in the Bundesliga

He got back into the Dortmund team after recovering from his injury - and scored the first senior goal of his career, as well as assisting with two more, in a 4-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen on 21 April.

Moments after missing a one-on-one, Sancho controlled Christian Pulisic's pass before curling home from 16 yards. He then set up Maximilian Philipp and Marco Reus.

After that performance, Philipp said: "His acceleration is brutal, he can do a lot of damage with his quick changes of direction.

"Maybe he's still a bit too playful. He still has a lot to learn and work hard but for an 18-year-old, that was a special performance."

He ended the season with one goal and four assists from 12 Bundesliga games, including seven starts.

Sancho faces old side in pre-season

Jadon Sancho
He was marked by Luke Bolton in the friendly, with Pep Guardiola saying the City youngster "won all the duels against Jadon Sancho"

Sancho faced City in Chicago in July - a year after he was due to go to the United States with the English club.

The winger impressed with his quick feet and ability to take men on as the Bundesliga side beat the Premier League champions 1-0.

He said afterwards: "I had a point to prove and I think I did well. The manager says I need to release the ball a bit quicker. I do show off a bit sometimes, which is not that good.

"I need to cut that out but I will benefit from the games I played last season. I have got my bearings now, so hopefully I will be better."

Sancho's electric start earns him new contract

He has had a brilliant start to the 2018-19 season and has set up more goals than any player in Europe's top five leagues - without even starting a Bundesliga match.

The Londoner has set up five league goals in as many substitute appearances, despite only being on the pitch for 124 minutes in total in the league. Since joining, he has set up a goal every 73.5 minutes he has played in the Bundesliga.

Sancho also scored his second Dortmund goal in a 7-0 win over Nuremberg last week.

He has started both Champions League games this season - assisting Jacob Bruun Larsen's goal in Wednesday's 3-0 win over Monaco.

BBC Radio 5 live's Steve Crossman said: "He is absolutely flying. His assist during the week was a nutmeg - and I believe he has been getting told off in training for nutmegging his team-mates."

He has set up a total of eight goals this season, including one in the German Cup against lower league Greuther Furth.

Despite this, German journalist Honigstein does not think he is ready to be a regular starter.

"He's already shown himself to be much more composed and efficient in his decision making this season," he said. "He'll do stuff that is maybe not quite the right thing but his unpredictability helps him to get past players and do something really special.

"Dortmund have a lot of players in those positions - Mario Gotze isn't even making it into the squad. So there will be rotation. Dortmund's game and the modern game for these attacking players is they will play every other game or play 60 minutes and then come off.

"That's the best he can hope for - in both senses of the word. It's not good for his development to start every single game right now, it would be too much on his body and mental pressure.

"But he knows he is one of the 14 or 15 regulars - he's ahead of schedule. It almost doesn't matter whether he starts or has a really impactful, good 30 minutes."

On Tuesday, he signed a contract extension keeping him with Dortmund until 2022.

Sancho makes England squad

Often we hold young players back - Southgate

He was a surprise name in England's senior squad for the Nations League games against Croatia and Spain in October - bypassing the Under-21s entirely for now.

Sancho is the first player born this century to be called up by England.

Speaking about the teenager and fellow new call-ups James Maddison and Mason Mount, boss Gareth Southgate said: "It aligns with what we have done in the last 18 months.

"We've got a few injuries in the midfield. Then we have a decision on which way we want to use that opportunity. We think there are some exciting young players that we've been tracking, either through their clubs or our junior teams.

"This is a great opportunity for us to look at them."

Speaking hours before the squad announcement, Honigstein said he did not think Sancho was ready for the senior national team.

"I would not take him, personally," he said. "I'd try to turn down the hype a little bit and not make him the next saviour or the next Gazza and just let him get on with it a little bit more.

"Euro 2020 is still so far away that whatever happens before that will have very little bearing on what team turns up for the tournament. Give him time, he's only a teenager, he's still growing. I think he can do without those extra games."


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