How Sancho caught the eye at Man City before leaving for Dortmund?

How Sancho caught the eye at Man City before leaving for Dortmund?

Now one of the most sought-after young players in the game with clubs (including City) climbing over each other for his signature, it seems a worthy time to reflect on his time in their academy and decision to take a leap of faith in the Bundesliga.

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Manchester City’s inability to keep hold of Jadon Sancho looks worse with every jaw-dropping run and goal added to his tally at Borussia Dortmund.

How Sancho caught the eye at Man City before leaving for Dortmund

Now one of the most sought-after young players in the game with clubs (including City) climbing over each other for his signature, it seems a worthy time to reflect on his time in their academy and decision to take a leap of faith in the Bundesliga.

Why did one of City’s most promising starlets turn his back on a £30,000-per-week deal at one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League with arguably the world’s best coach at the helm?

How Sancho caught the eye at Man City before leaving for Dortmund

Sancho moved to the club as a 15-year-old from Watford, leaving Hertfordshire to join one of the most sophisticated youth set-ups in the country.

He immediately impressed and demonstrated why City splashed out £66,000, rising to £500,000 with add-ons.

On his full debut for the Under-18s, playing against some opponents who were three years older than him, Sancho bagged a double to wow his new coach Jason Wilcox.

After the game Wilcox told the Manchester Evening News: ‘For a young kid playing his first Under-18s football match I thought he was sensational.

‘I’m really looking forward to working with him because he’s a talented boy who works really hard.’

For some youngsters, settling into a new environment away from their home town can be a struggle, but Sancho was at a boarding school funded by Watford from the age of 11 so was already independent and adaptable.

How Sancho caught the eye at Man City before leaving for Dortmund

‘I was still in England and I knew I could go back home. It was a bit further away but I could see the family every three weeks or so. Settling there was not a problem,’ he has since explained.

Sancho possessed dazzling ability honed in the football cages of south London. He exhibited those skills on the pitch and was a tireless worker, like most top class players, obsessed with constant improvement. His eye-catching tricks increased interest in him and generated a buzz.

One of Sancho’s heroes is Ronaldinho and he took great pleasure in posting his own outrageous pieces of skill on social media as a young teenager.

A clip he shared in April 2017 showed him cutting in from wide on the left flank, beating eight players and scoring a peach against Arsenal.

How Sancho caught the eye at Man City before leaving for Dortmund

‘I was still in England and I knew I could go back home. It was a bit further away but I could see the family every three weeks or so. Settling there was not a problem,’ he has since explained.

Sancho possessed dazzling ability honed in the football cages of south London. He exhibited those skills on the pitch and was a tireless worker, like most top class players, obsessed with constant improvement. His eye-catching tricks increased interest in him and generated a buzz.

One of Sancho’s heroes is Ronaldinho and he took great pleasure in posting his own outrageous pieces of skill on social media as a young teenager.

A clip he shared in April 2017 showed him cutting in from wide on the left flank, beating eight players and scoring a peach against Arsenal.

How Sancho caught the eye at Man City before leaving for Dortmund

City were desperate for him to stay but with Leroy Sane, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva all fully-fledged international stars ahead of him in the pecking order, Sancho felt his development was at best stifled, at worst blocked.

Once City came to terms with the fact that one of the jewels in their academy crown wanted to leave, they were determined to make sure it wasn’t to a Premier League rival.

At the time senior figures at the club made noises to suggest Sancho was listening to the wrong advice. They had been willing to make him their highest paid academy player in history.

But when Borussia Dortmund came calling with an £8million transfer fee, promises of game time and the No 7 shirt, all parties accepted the move.

Since joining the Bundesliga side in 2017, Sancho has racked up 31 goals in all competitions before his 20th birthday.

Pep Guardiola has hardly been able to hide his disappointment and when asked about Sancho’s exit, said: ‘I don’t know. He didn’t want to take this challenge, this opportunity to discover if he was able to (be good enough for City).

How Sancho caught the eye at Man City before leaving for Dortmund

City were desperate for him to stay but with Leroy Sane, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva all fully-fledged international stars ahead of him in the pecking order, Sancho felt his development was at best stifled, at worst blocked.

Once City came to terms with the fact that one of the jewels in their academy crown wanted to leave, they were determined to make sure it wasn’t to a Premier League rival.

At the time senior figures at the club made noises to suggest Sancho was listening to the wrong advice. They had been willing to make him their highest paid academy player in history.

But when Borussia Dortmund came calling with an £8million transfer fee, promises of game time and the No 7 shirt, all parties accepted the move.

Since joining the Bundesliga side in 2017, Sancho has racked up 31 goals in all competitions before his 20th birthday.

Pep Guardiola has hardly been able to hide his disappointment and when asked about Sancho’s exit, said: ‘I don’t know. He didn’t want to take this challenge, this opportunity to discover if he was able to (be good enough for City).

How Sancho caught the eye at Man City before leaving for Dortmund

‘I still have love for Pep, I still love everyone at the club, because they took me from Watford and helped me develop into who I am today.’

His old team-mate Diaz joined Real Madrid for £20m but is struggling for game time, while Foden continues to fight for minutes and has not been able to develop as rapidly at City as Sancho has with Dortmund, perhaps vindicating the decision to leave.

The 19-year-old is helping his side battle for the Bundesliga and Champions League and forming an enviable combination with Erling Haaland and Marco Reus.

He’ll almost certainly be in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the European Championship this summer and the ruthless ambition he showed in leaving City continues to fuel his ascent to the very top.

Credit: Allfootballapp

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