Manchester City and England winger Raheem Sterling has publicly praised Jadon Sancho’s work ethic, while revealing he’s not surprised by just how quickly the 18-year-old forward has eased seamlessly into international football at senior level.
Following a surprise call-up to England’s senior side last week, the Borussia Dortmund winger became the first player born this millennium to represent the Three Lions – during England’s goalless draw with Croatia on Friday evening.
Sancho, born in March 2000, has created eight assists and scored one goal in 10 appearances across all competitions this term for Dortmund.
What makes these statistics even more impressive is the fact he only made his first start of the domestic campaign during a seven-goal thriller against Augsburg before the international break.
It was Sterling, a former teammate with the Citizens, who he replaced with just over ten minutes left to play. During a brief cameo, he was impressed and even could’ve created an assist after promising work down the right-hand side.
His move to the Bundesliga last summer was met with both heavy criticism and intrigue after refusing to train prior to City’s pre-season tour, instead intent on forcing a move away from Manchester. He wanted regular first-team minutes and knew that leaving for pastures new elsewhere, would grant him his wish.
Raheem happy for his teammate after brave move pays off
When quizzed, Sterling told reporters: “He is a really good talent and someone I’ve thought highly of since the first time I saw him at Manchester City when he was training with us in pre-season.”
“I thought highly of him – his work ethic and what he does with the ball. I know him really well and he’s someone that is really modest but when he’s on the field he wants to express his ability.”
Sancho’s move to Germany was equally hailed as brave, at a time where his progression has prompted other youngsters in similar situations a sense of perspective abroad. Sterling believes his team-mate made the right decision, to develop further elsewhere.
“For someone so young to back themselves to go abroad is a credit to them. To go abroad so young and back yourself, that shows a lot about the person. He could have taken the easy route and stayed at City but he saw himself developing better. He has knuckled down in Germany and, when you’re that age, it’s probably something you need. To have that seclusion and be by yourself a bit and to concentrate solely on football. I’m really happy for him.”