Having burst onto the scene in the blue half of Manchester, the 15-year-old winger represents an exciting breed of talent at Eastlands.
Scout report – City and England’s next rising star
Name: Jadon Sancho
DOB: March 25, 2000 (15)
Position: Attacking midfielder
Current club: Man City
Preferred foot: Right
For every young player, all they want to do is play. Irrespective of the quality, or the opposition, most aspiring youngsters just want their opportunity centre-stage.
After seven successful years in Watford‘s youth ranks, Manchester City winger Jadon Sancho made his lucrative move – joining the big boys in the process. Signing an initial scholar contract with the sky Blues, his switch surprised plenty, not least because of the fee involved.
Big fee for promising talent
To pay £500,000 (upfront, £66k – plus add-ons) for an unproven 15-year-old suggests they’d been monitoring his progress for a while, and in the ten short months he’s been at the club, he’s more than shown his outright potential to force his way into their first-team plans in the not-too-distant future.
Obviously, with the hype also comes plenty of expectation. At his age, you can’t expect too much. But, he’s been excellent since the move, and proven his massive potential in the process. Predominantly an attacking midfielder, usually deployed on the wing or just behind the striker, he’s already impressed for City’s youth side as well as England‘s talented crop of under-16’s.
Mature beyond his years
In his last year of full-time education, you could excuse Jadon for being slightly raw and immature, in terms of decision-making on the field as well as off it. After all, how many 15-year-old’s could actively say they play for one of the best clubs in world football and have exclusive access to training facilities and plenty of benefits on a daily basis? Not many.
In the early hours of Christmas morning, when the majority of people were fast asleep or celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ with their respective families, a group of youngsters went bearing gifts for the homeless and unfortunate – those who were sleeping rough in a chilly, central London setting.
Jadon was unsurprisingly amongst them, and the teenager purposely went out of his way to help the less fortunate than himself. A subtle, warm gesture which just reiterates maturity beyond his years.
An excellent full debut
Since his arrival in Manchester, Jadon has made big strides to prove he should be fast-tracked into the under-18’s. Still classed as an U16, he made a second-half cameo appearance against Stoke City back in September, but his full debut for the U18’s had plenty of people talking for all the right reasons.
Against Newcastle, he started and scored a well-taken brace – earning well-deserved praise from manager Jason Wilcox in the process. “For a young kid playing his first under-18’s football match, I thought he was sensational.”
Wilcox then admitted that he’s “really looking forward” to working with Jadon, a “talented boy” who does work really hard.
Given his undeniable talent, he could have easily been fast-tracked to play with the U18’s on a regular basis. Instead though, he’s been urged to keep his feet on the ground and as a result, playing him at the right time will keep him hungry for more. The likes of Will Patching, Isaac Buckley and Lukas Nmecha (all 17) have all played their part in an ever-improving City youth team.
The way he’s handled himself since the transfer, as well as how he’s seamlessly settled in, is highly encouraging for the club and Jadon himself.
It’s often tricky to spot a youngster’s main attributes, especially when they’re still in the youth ranks – and a step-up from that to the physical, demanding nature of competitive football is a large one indeed.
But judging from months of watching him since he sealed his move to the Citizens, here are his qualities and areas to improve upon:
His dribbling and overall speed are very impressive
As a winger, you rarely see slow forwards. Jadon is no exception – but uses devastating skill moves to his advantage, beating defenders as though they’re not there, half the time. He keeps the ball close to feet and because he’s unpredictable, is a real handful to defend against. Has already been compared to the likes of Raheem Sterling, and once you’ve watched him, you’ll understand why.
Finishing is very strong
Although he’s still very young, and yet to be truly tested in a more competitive environment, his finishing in-front of goal is an impressive attribute. He is often unselfish, and can pick out passes to teammates in space too – but if given the opportunity, you’d expect him to score from close-range, in-and-around the box too.
Unsurprisingly, most of the plaudits and media attention have been attracted by his ability to dance past opposition players and skill them effortlessly. But the timing of his runs and spatial awareness helps him to get into favourable positions to go for goal too.
Something that is increasingly important in the modern day game, wingers/attack-minded players that can also contribute defensively for their team, when out-of-possession. Jadon knows where the net is – but isn’t afraid to track back and defend when required to do so too. This is an important attribute that is tough to mould into players once they reach a certain age in their development, and having a high workrate is beneficial as it helps provide more defensive support for the team’s backline. For instance, if he was played as a winger in a 4231 formation and his side were out-of-possession, his tracking back would help benefit the fullback, providing him with support and thus increasing the likelihood that they’ll eventually clear their lines.
Don’t be surprised if you see him accelerating past defenders on the wings for the club’s first-team in a few years’ time.
- 1-3: Not good enough to reach the top level
- 4-5: Potential to nail down a regular spot in a mid-table side
- 6-7: Potential to be a top European forward
- 8-10: Potential to be world-class