With the World Cup looming large, Gareth Southgate spent yesterday evening watching the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley as he aims to finalise his squad for the summer. Away from the drama of Manchester United’s victory over Tottenham, however, there was an Englishman on fire in another big game on the continent.
Borussia Dortmund faced Bayer Leverkusen, with the two sides level on points in third and fourth respectively, knowing that a victory would move them a huge step closer to a Champions League finish. With the stakes high it was a shock to see Jadon Sancho’s name on the hosts teamsheet then, but boy did the teenager deliver.
It was, after all, only the youngster’s fourth league start since making the move from Manchester City in the summer, and his first in almost three months. Having only turned 18 in March the winger was entrusted to impress when it mattered most for BVB this season, and that faith was repaid in spades.
lang="en" dir="ltr">1️⃣ Goal— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 22, 2018
1️⃣ Outrageous touch
Jadon Sancho is going to be a serious problem!
18-years-old, the Englishman took the decision to move to Dortmund, he just had his best game for the club 💛🖤 pic.twitter.com/t9YqtynBqJ
Not only did Sancho hand Dortmund an early lead with an incredibly composed finish for his first goal in the famous yellow shirt, he then registered the assists for the home side’s third and fourth strikes in a convincing 4-0 win to put the game beyond doubt. The England youth international created a match-high of seven chances in total, completed three dribbles and 86.2% of his passes to earn a perfect 10 man of the match rating from WhoScored.com.
In the process he became the first teenager to secure such a rating in Europe’s top five leagues from all season, with Kylian Mbappe the last to do so back in February 2017, and in turn the first player born in this millennium to do so as well.
Already a star at under age group level with the Three Lions, with teen was named player of the tournament at last summer’s European Under-17 Championships, with England losing out on penalties in the final to Spain. Southgate will certainly know all about Sancho given his ties to the youth set-ups in recent years and has shown he is willing to give young players a chance since taking the senior job and if the Dortmund ace can stay in the side for the final weeks of the season he will hope to come under consideration.
There’s often one wildcard included in international squads, so could Sancho be that player for England at Russia 2018?