Jadon Sancho has enjoyed a meteoric rise at Borussia Dortmund in recent seasons – and the 18-year-old has attracted plenty of admirers along the way.
After starring in Bundesliga over the past 18 months and breaking into the senior England set-up, Sancho has become one of the hottest prospects in world football.
We’ve rounded up some of the best quotes on the winger from his coaches, team-mates and pundits.
Sancho is known as a City academy product, but he actually came through Watford’s youth system before moving north at the age of 15.
“Jadon was someone who needed to be challenged,” Lancaster, his academy coach at Watford, told Sky Sports. “Some boys are scared of moving up a year, but he embraced it. That was one thing that separated him from the others.
“As a coach you can measure how many passes they make, how many shots they take, how far they run, but it’s the immeasurable qualities that make the difference.
“I asked him, ‘What’s the dream?’ He looked me in the eye and said he wanted to play for one of Europe’s top clubs and represent his country to make his family proud.”
The former England youth coach worked with Sancho with the Three Lions’ Under-16 side and made a lofty comparison for the youngster.
“Provided he doesn’t become restricted he could be our Neymar-type player – in terms of being unpredictable, playing on that left-hand side,” he told The Guardian. “And he’s flamboyant, entertaining to watch. But like Neymar, he’s effective with it.
“In most games he’ll create something – it’s not a beauty contest. He’s not on the pitch flicking it over someone’s head for the sake of it.”
Jadon Sancho has been killing it in England training 🔥
He even sold the camera man 😳😅
— COPA90 (@COPA90) March 21, 2019
The Dortmund sporting director has regularly waxed lyrical about Sancho, most notably prior to the Champions League clash with Tottenham this season.
“I’m not surprised about his performances,” he said. “I’m surprised how fast he managed to get on this senior level because, before, he only played in youth teams.
“And also his stability in performing well. During last autumn he nearly played each game and always at a high level. For this age he can still play in our Under-19 team!
“He’s still a youth player in our terms – that’s unbelievable. He’s very robust, very strong. For his age, he is outstanding.”
“He had this flair, creativity and imagination and a bit of street football within him,” Burton, City’s youth coordinator, told the Daily Mirror in October 2018.
“Sometimes he goes off the cuff. What we gave him was a bit of discipline within his play but without hopefully killing his flair.
“We surrounded him with better players that pushed him and put him in an environment that probably got him closer to seeing what professional football looked like.”
When asked about Sancho after the winger became the youngest Englishman to score in Bundesliga, Reus told Kicker: “How he controls the ball to set up the 3-0, that shows everything.
“I wasn’t that far at his age. So much respect!”
The most assists in Europe’s top 5 leagues this season.
🇦🇷 Lionel Messi (12)
🏴 Jadon Sancho (12)
England’s Golden boy. pic.twitter.com/H6hcFCLyE3
— VERSUS (@vsrsus) March 16, 2019
Holmes-Lewis selected Sancho to play for Southwark’s London Youth Games Under-11 team alongside fellow hot prospect Reiss Nelson.
“When I saw Jadon and Reiss I thought, ‘These boys are mad.’ Jadon was just making people look stupid. The nutmegs, the skills. Some were outrageous,” he told the Daily Mirror.
“Jadon and Reiss were both phenomenal players. You knew they would go into the professional game. They were different from anything out there and had this ability to manipulate the ball at a young age.
“At times, because of their friendship, it was telepathic between them on the pitch. Jadon was fearless on the pitch when he was in his groove. Growing up in that area of Southwark you had to have something about you to be able to play.”
Asked about Dortmund’s purchase of Sancho in February, Klopp revealed Liverpool were also interested in the attacker.
“Buying English players is a smart idea because we would never have a chance to get Sancho,” he said.
“We are not blind – we saw him, we liked him and then we think, ‘Can we get him?’ No. Because English clubs don’t sell to other English clubs.
“I don’t know exactly what the reason is for that but they don’t do it. Now they can go to Germany, which is a wonderful league.”
After Sancho provided two assists in a 4-0 victory against Bayer Leverkusen, Philipp expressed his admiration for his new team-mate.
“His acceleration is brutal, he can do a lot of damage with his quick changes of direction,” he said.
“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.”
Thoughts and prayers up for Harry Maguire and Jack Butland after Jadon Sancho had a bit of a day at England training earlier. pic.twitter.com/qhOdSzHMLI
— Davidde Corran (@DaviddeCorran) March 19, 2019
Ferdinand is another member of the media to regularly heap praise on Sancho.
In October 2018, he told BT Sport: “This kid is the truth. He’s got everything. He’s got skill, pace, tenacity, desire, commitment, he gets goals.
“He’s top assist man in Europe at the moment. He’s potentially the best talent we’ve got bar none.”
Another gem from Micciche in his interview with The Guardian.
“Jadon did a lot of his learning on the street through informal play. People think academies produce these players – they don’t.
“They do a lot of things – they support, develop, nurture. But they inherit 90%, 95% of the player, even when they join at nine. It’s about the other five, 10% – that can be crucial, as the player is either completed or the 90 shattered.
“The analogy I use is ‘bricks in the wall’. If 10 bricks are needed to make the structure and the player is the wall, when they come to you several bricks are in place and it’s about filling in the missing ones.
“With Jadon, if one of his bricks is creativity and you tell him he can only play one- or two-touch you take that brick away.
And the man himself?
“I feel like us England players just love football,” he told BT Sport. “The people I grew up around just want to help their mums and families live a better life, we’ll do anything to make them proud.”