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Manchester City could be set to lose one of the most promising youngsters from their setup as forward Jadon Sancho is looking for an exit from the Sky Blues, with Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal closely monitoring the situation (Daily Mail).
The attacker, who turned 17 only in March this year has been regarded as a jewel in City’s youth structure and has also trained with Pep Guardiola’s senior team already. The club had begun negotiations with the starlet over a lucrative contract. However, it is understood that Sancho has reservations about his chances to break into the first-team at the Etihad and that is what is making him consider his future.
With so much furore surrounding the 17-year old youngster, let’s take a closer look at Jadon Sancho and what makes him a special talent.
Born on March 25, 2000, Sancho started out at the Watford youth academy at a young age, and after a few impressive years with the Hornets, City snapped him up in 2015 and his development has continued at a rapid rate ever since. He signed a four-year contract with the citizens in July 2016.
Having been bumped up to the U-18 squad ahead of the 2016 season, he enjoyed a blistering campaign, scoring 15 goals and 5 assists in 20 games. This earned him a jump to the U-23s, where he once again made it count with 3 goals and 2 assists in 7 games in the Premier League 2. He also played for the City U-19s in the UEFA Youth League, where he found the net twice in 6 games. His reputation gained more traction when Pep Guardiola, impressed by his talent, asked him to train with the first-team.
Sancho made his debut for the England U-16s in October 2015 and went on to represent the Three Lions on 7 occasions, netting 6 goals. A year later, in September 2016, he made his bow for the England U-17s and has played 16 times till date.
The 17-year old had an excellent 2017 European U-17 Championships, where England made it all the way to the finals on the back of his performances. Sancho scored 5 and set up 5 more and was named the “Golden Player” – an award the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Wayne Rooney have won previously.
A speedy winger, who relishes operating on the left-side, Sancho can play on the right flank as well. As is the case with most wingers, Sancho possesses pace in great abundance and has excellent dribbling abilities to go with it, which allows him to hold on to ball and run at the full-backs with full speed, and weave out of tight spaces as well. Despite his age, the 17-year old has demonstrated great intelligence when in possession and backs it up with good end product.
His ability to dribble into dangerous areas helps him to create chances in plenty while also allowing him to score by himself. His goal-per-game scoring rate (well, almost) is indicative of his goal-scoring prowess and exceptional finishing abilities.
What’s more impressive is that Sancho is an extremely hard-working individual who puts in the hard yards defensively – something which players of his age and position seem reluctant to do. He tracks back, tackles, makes interceptions and is always committed to the team’s cause. However, it is his ability to dance past opposition players as if they are not even there, that is most exciting.
There are a few aspects that he does need to improve on – at times he tends to hold on to the ball a little longer than needed and tends to give away possession. For any winger, decision-making is one of the most important aspects that needs to be strong and while he has shown maturity, he can still do better and grow.
It is not every other day that you catch the attention of Pep Guardiola and Sancho did just that last season. He has all the traits and makings of a superstar, but the chances of that happening at City are slim, considering that there are a plethora of stars ahead of him in similar positions. But aged only 17, he has plenty of time to break into the first-team.
Moving to the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham, he would find that the situations aren’t too dissimilar from what he is facing now at City and should probably stay put with the Citizens, especially having already forced his way into the thinking of the manager.