Player Analysis - Jadon Sancho, England's brightest prospect
Jadon Sancho has been one of the best players in the Bundesliga this season. The 18-year-old England International has taken the Bundesliga by storm and is one of the key players for the Dortmund team that is challenging for both the champions league and the Bundesliga.
Sancho signed his first senior professional contract with Dortmund in 2017 after the German club lured him from Manchester City for a fee of £8 million. Ever since his move to Germany, he has got the playing time he was craving for and has been the reason for other English talents’ move to the Bundesliga.
Reiss Nelson is enjoying his loan spell at Hoffenheim from Arsenal while Callum Hudson-Odoi is the latest youngster who is eyeing a move to the Bundesliga.
Style of play
Sancho is a natural winger who possesses flair, skills and blistering pace. He can play in both sides of the pitch, although he is more suited to the left side where he can offer a direct threat as well as cut inside to either shoot or dribble.
The 18-year-old plays as a modern winger with an all-round attacking play. He can run with the ball directly into the opposition box from wide as well as break the defensive lines when he cuts inside with the ball. He has the vision and creativity to find runs of teammates with incisive through balls in between players.
The youngster likes to express himself more on the ball and this makes him to always try and do something with the ball, taking defenders on 1 v 1 situations and trying to run with the ball into space.
His style of play is closest to Neymar in the way he is composed and calm when in possession and the way he always likes to use his skills to take on players. He also has an uncharacteristic English touch and flair which makes him very good in tight spaces.
Dortmund coach Lucien Favre has mostly used Sancho as one of the three wide midfielders in his structured 4-2-3-1 formation. Sancho mostly plays on the right side of the three advanced midfielders in front of the double pivot consisting of Axel Witsel and Thomas Delaney and behind Paco Alcacer, the lone striker. One of the strengths of the BVB team this season has been creating goalscoring chances from wide areas.
This has come mostly as a result of the presence of wide players who are very good at creating chances. Favre’s tactics have also aided in opening up spaces for wingers and creating overloads in wide areas; Dortmund style of building from the back, drawing opposition players to their half before exploiting the spaces left behind has helped in the creation of overloads where the attacking players combine and pose a threat to the opposition.
In most cases, the attacking players find themselves in 2 v 1 situations when the opposing fullbacks press the ball high up the pitch. This has enabled to get the best out of Sancho, who can now have a lot of spaces and time to work on the ball.
Strength and weaknesses
Blessed with electrifying pace, flashy skills and close control, Sancho is a nightmare to fullbacks and defenders. He has completed an average of 3.1 dribbles-per-game in the Bundesliga this season.
His end product, which has been nothing short of excellent so far this season, suggests that he has the potential to be one of the best wingers in the world. He has been involved in 18 goals in just 17 starts in the Bundesliga this season, scoring 8 and assisting 10. His ability to unlock defenses is also shown by the fact that he has provided an average of 2 key passes per game.
Sancho’s decision making is also brilliant for an 18-year-old. He usually knows when to hold onto the ball or when to pass or shoot. His off the ball movement is also impressive as he has the ability to anticipate the play. This makes his movements to be unpredictable and to be mostly positioned in dangerous areas.
Moving abroad at such a young age in search of regular game time, it is evident that Sancho has a strong mentality. At the age of 14, he moved from London to Manchester to play for Manchester City, being away from his parents at such a young age.
The fact that he has made crucial decisions for his career and has shown his willingness to take difficult choices shows the maturity and the mentality of the 18-year-old.