Jadon Sancho developing well but next step will be challenging, says Gareth Southgate
Borussia Dortmund winger has been linked with a move away from the Bundesliga this summer
Last Updated: 09/06/20 6:53pm
Jadon Sancho is developing well at Borussia Dortmund but any move away will be challenging, says England manager Gareth Southgate.
The 20-year-old winger has attracted plenty of attention over the last two seasons with his performances in the Bundesliga, having moved to Dortmund from Manchester City in 2017.
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His superb form has seen him earn his first senior England caps under Southgate with Sancho often linked with a move away from Germany, although the England manager is not surprised by his meteoric rise.
"He's a very talented young player - that's clear. The Bundesliga is getting a lot of profile at the moment but it's no surprise to us," Southgate said on The Football Show.
"I think the interesting challenge is that Bayern [Munich] are the best team in the Bundesliga; RB Leipzig and Dortmund are performing well but the gap when you then work down the league is an interesting one when you compare it to the Premier League.
"The top teams have certainly been a challenge for English teams in the Champions League but the level I don't think is quite the same in Germany in terms of the depth because the finances aren't quite the same.
"Any step for Sancho is going to be a challenge but he's developing really well.
"If I look at his age and his contribution, he's learning the game, he's slowly maturing - there are bits he's still got to learn - and he has some fantastic role models in Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford, not only in terms of how they play but also their professionalism, their desire and hunger."
Sancho himself has praised Sterling as a role model for young professionals, citing his achievements both on the field and his stance on racism.
"He is an inspiration to a lot of youngsters, especially because he is from London and I am from London," Sancho told Sky Sports News. "I am sure every youngster from London will look up to him and probably [try] to be like him and win big awards like that one day.
"I agree with Raheem a lot [on racism]. He has had some tough experiences. It is not nice [when] what you do on the pitch and what you love, to hear those things off the pitch. What he is doing is really good for us and we have just got to support him and get behind him."
Sky Sports' Nick Wright:
'Sancho has been irrepressible this season and racked up 17 goals and 16 assists in just 28 Bundesliga appearances, surpassing his totals for the whole of the 2018/19 campaign, during which he registered 12 goals and 14 assists in 34 games.
'The numbers are exceptional by anyone's standards. In fact, Sancho's combined total of 29 goals and assists before the suspension of football put him behind only two players in Europe's major leagues - and one of those is Lionel Messi.
'What makes it all the more impressive, of course, is that Sancho has done all this as a teenager.
'With a combined total of over 60 top-flight goals and assists so far, he has racked up more than twice as many as Messi at the same age. His totals also dwarf those of Eden Hazard and Raheem Sterling. He has scored nearly twice as many goals as a teenaged Cristiano Ronaldo in all competitions.'
Borussia Dortmund expect Sancho to stay at the club this summer. However, a source close to the 20-year-old has told Sky Sports News a move away from Dortmund is still likely as he is unlikely to extend his current contract, which expires in 2022.
Dortmund have maintained they will only sell if the deal is right for the club and the player, who is valued in excess of £100m.
In March, Dortmund's chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said the club would not stand in Sancho's way if he wanted to leave in the summer.
"You always have to respect what the player wants," he told Bild. "We already said before the coronavirus pandemic that our preference is for Jadon to remain with us."
A number of Europe's top clubs including Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona are interested in signing Sancho.