Jadon Sancho broke the rules at Manchester City… and proved himself England class

Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho has been brilliant this season for Borussia Dortmund (Image: GETTY )

So Gareth Southgate for one is not about to crack the whip now.

For all that the England manager is meticulous in his planning and attention to detail, he is wise enough to know that while some players need channelling, other simply require nudging along in vaguely the right direction.

The 18-year-old’s chipped penalty that embarrassed Jack Butland on Tuesday in the shoot-out at the end of open training at St George’s Park has apparently been followed up by a number of other hidden incidents on the training ground where he has embarrassed his senior colleagues with his remarkable skills.

And Southgate is all for that.

“I’m sure the goalkeepers weren’t too happy about the penalty, but that’s normal practice,” he said. “But these boys have got huge confidence and they just do what they see.

“We certainly don’t want to knock that out of creative players. I think it’s important that sometimes as a coach you can focus on team detail and moulding players into the way you want them to play, and then they lose the thing that makes them special.

“It’s important that we don’t do that. You want them to feel comfortable enough to do that in a senior environment, and to feel they can talk openly with the senior players and feel that they are part of the group.”

Sancho has never been short of confidence, even when he joined the Manchester City academy from Watford as a 14-year-old.

Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho has been called up to the England squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers (Image: GETTY )

Of all the players who have gone through the books at the Etihad, the failure to keep hold of Sancho is the one that still really stings – despite the best efforts of everybody at the club.

Ultimately, he was not to be cajoled by anything other than the promise of regular first-team football – something that in the summer of 2017 still looked to be some way away at Manchester City.

As a result, his name is something of a sore point around the club but privately, staff members still hold very fond memories of the precocious talent.

“He would come in wearing an earring, 20 minutes late but still smiling at you,” one source at the club’s academy said.

“Characters like him can hold court and have this presence and this charisma.

“They are not straight-line characters there in black and white who do everything right all the time. And it is important that we don’t get them and put them in a straight-jacket.

“There are rules, and they have to abide by these rules. But if you can get them young enough, you can shape them within the rules but all the time knowing that they are going to be a little bit unconventional at times.

“And behind it all, what we saw in Jadon was that he was a winner. He still had the desire to be the best. He had a vision, he had a dream. And he has still got it.”

Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho has scored contributed to 19 goals this season for Dortmund (Image: GETTY )

That careful nurturing has been continued this week with Southgate making sure that, for all his individuality, Sancho has spent the weeks picking up some good habits.

“We’ve got to make sure that he’s around people like Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling, whose focus in training is exemplary,” he said.

“He can see that you can play one or two games and that’s one thing, but to hit consistency, then you’ve got to have those habits every day of the week, your preparation has got to be strong and that’s in your hands.”

Sancho’s emergence – with Southgate having no qualms about throwing Callum Hudson-Odoi into the fray at some point, too – continues the evolution since the World Cup.

Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho and Harry Kane faced off in the Champions League (Image: GETTY )

Michael Keane and Ben Chilwell have also come into the team having not even been on the plane to Russia and at the start of European Championships qualifiers, “Southgate’s England” has already reached its third generation.

“Sometimes, when the pool is smaller, you have to be a bit more creative in the way you approach things,” Southgate said. “We’ll have some players come through that will surprise us and, frankly, are going to excite the public.

“Because when they see them play, they’re going to be excited by what they’ve seen. Because we are.”

Wembley waits with expectation.

source: express.co.uk