Jadon Sancho may have faded against Tottenham but he didn't disappoint

There were, at the risk of upsetting Thomas Delaney, many English eyes upon Jadon Sancho.
Borussia Dortmund
midfielder Delaney had arrived at Wembley on the eve of the game and made a point about a nation who are 'world class' at 'hyping' their young players.
As a Dane, perhaps he was thinking of a friendly in Copenhagen in 2011 when England descended giddy with excitement at the prospect of Jack Wilshere starting in midfield only to find him comprehensively eclipsed by a teenage Christian Eriksen.
Delaney claimed his job was to keep Sancho grounded, although this genie might not be for rebottling because, while he faded as Dortmund were soundly beaten by Tottenham in the second half, those who came to check on the progress of the wonderkid did not go home disappointed.
'He's scaring the life of out seasoned Premier League defenders and I love it,' drooled Rio Ferdinand in the BT Sport studio. 'I'm just happy watching him.'
Harry Redknapp agreed. 'Every time Sancho gets it and runs you get excited,' said the former Spurs boss at half-time.
Sancho is right up Redknapp's street; he's hit kind of player and don't be doubting Thomas, this isn't hyperbole but rather genuine delight to see an English teenager performing as a vital component of Dortmund's fast and fluent attacking unit.
Mauricio Pochettino devised a plan to combat their pace and trickery and it involved Juan Foyth in back-three with Jan Vertonghen released to maraud forward like Jonah Lomu at wing-back.
The efforts of Foyth and Serge Aurier were to keep Christian Pulisic under control and the operation didn't start particularly well.
Aurier was booked for pulling the American back by his shorts when unable to keep up with him on halfway and Foyth turned into trouble on the edge of his penalty area and allowed Pulisic to dart into the penalty area and test Hugo Lloris.
Spurs keeper Lloris made the save at his near post but here was an encouraging glimpse for Chelsea fans of the explosive speed of the mark of a young striker signed last month for £58million and set to join them in the summer.
Sancho on the Dortmund right faced the experience of Toby Alderweireld and Vertonghen, who was deployed unusually as a wing-back.
Twenty minutes had passed before the teenager gave the reliable Belgians the slip for the first time, accelerating in space and turning Sanchez inside and out.
His low cross did not find a team-mate but the Germans were settling into their rhythm and Sancho was beginning to relax.
This was his third appearance at Wembley, having started for England in a friendly against America in November and appeared from the bench in a UEFA Nations League qualifier against Croatia a few days later.
He will, undoubtedly, be back many more times but this game seemed significant as his homecoming in the colours of Dortmund, the club he selected as the best for his development.
The fact he was in the team with the number seven on his back supported his bold decision and his second season in Germany has been very impressive.
At 18, he has become the youngest player in Bundesliga history to eight goals and the youngest to appear in the group stages of this season's Champions League.
Borussia Dortmund supporters say Sancho has altered their perceptions of the archetypal English footballer.
After years of physically strong and determined footballers, such as Wayne Rooney and Alan Shearer, they see greater technical excellence in the latest generation.
Sporting director Michael Zorc praised his attitude and willingness to learn under the micro-management of Lucien Favre.
And, for all his flair and footwork, the local Dortmund media pack have been impressed with his coolness and ability to make the right decisions - when to pass, when to dribble, when to hold his position, stretch the pitch and let others play in the space - and to remain clear-headed in the blur of action.
Sancho challenged the narrative about maturity and responsibility by forgetting his passport, delaying the team's flight to London on Tuesday, but once under the Wembley arch he lived up to the billing.
Tactically, he was disciplined and he refused to be distracted when the officials somehow failed to notice a trip by Moussa Sissoko when he was in full flow.
As half-time approached, he delivered a neat clip to the back-post where Dan Axel Zagadou climbed above Foyth to force another save from Lloris.
Tottenham took a firmer grip on proceedings after the interval and it became tougher for Sancho to influence.
Vertonghen's rampaging runs down the left flank forced occupied full-back Achraf Hakimi and left the winger more isolated and he was weary by the end, stretching out his cramped muscles.
Sancho was replaced in the closing moments with Dortmund three down after the first leg. This night belonged to Spurs but he will be back.
Comment

No comments found