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An England call-up for Jadon Sancho should spark a Premier League exodus

Jadon Sancho swapped Man City for Borussia Dortmund in 2017 and hasn't looked back since

Not a single member of England’s 2018 World Cup squad played their football outside of the Premier League.

That complete domestic dominance wasn’t present in any of the other 31 competing teams, although Saudi Arabia’s three-man La Liga contingent were nothing more than a PR exercise.

In the last 20 years only Fraser Forster (Celtic), David Beckham (Real Madrid) and Owen Hargreaves (Bayern Munich) have represented England at a World Cup while playing abroad.

Playing for Bayern Munich was a thrill a minute

EPA
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Playing for Bayern Munich was a thrill a minute

But the winds are changing.

England now have a manager in Gareth Southgate who doesn’t care for historical club stature. He picks purely on form and suitability for his tactics.

Southgate’s appointment came at a moment in time in which English youngsters are showing increased willingness to fly the nest.

Jadon Sancho may well be the first of Generation Odyssey to see his gamble rewarded with an England call-up.

Aged 14, Sancho moved from Watford to Man City for a fee which would have topped £500,000 if certain conditions were met.

In 2017, having been at City for just two years and with his path to first-team football blocked by a never-ending supply of multi-million pound arrivals, Sancho left England for Borussia Dortmund.

Any worries about a lack of confidence moving to a new country were quickly dashed when Sancho inherited the no.7 shirt previously worn by Robert Lewandowski and Ousmane Dembele.

Sancho’s importance to Dortmund was underlined by the fact they only let him play in the group stages of England’s victorious Under-17 World Cup campaign before calling him back to Germany.

A World Cup campaign that didn’t end in tears

Getty - Contributor
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A World Cup campaign that didn’t end in tears

Last season he registered one goal and four assists in seven starts for Dortmund, while he’s already off the mark for assists this campaign.

But, more than the numbers and stats, it’s Sancho’s ability to leave professional defenders looking like salsa dancers that has caught the eye, both in Blighty and abroad.

Sancho is a modern footballer who combines YouTube-taught footwork honed in the back garden with academy-drilled football IQ.

One burst from him can change the game, as Greuther Furth recently found out in the last minute of DFB Cup extra-time.

Ademola Lookman had a prolific end to last season when he joined RB Leipzig, much to the annoyance of Sam Allardyce, and registered five goals and three assists in seven starts.

Sancho and Lookman’s travels clearly caught the attention of those back home.

Ronaldo Vieira, Keanan Bennets and Reo Griffiths all left English football to move to Sampdoria, Borussia Monchengladbach and Lyon this summer.

Reiss Nelson, a friend of Sancho, is reportedly closing in on a move to Bundesliga side Hoffenheim.

Enjoy him while you can

Getty - Contributor
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Enjoy him while you can

Nelson’s case is an example of a talented player unwilling to sit about and wait his turn in a brutally cutthroat industry.

The winger won the Under-17 World Cup in 2017 and was named the best player at the Under-17 European Championships in the same year.

He’s been around the Arsenal first-team since the age of 16 but still finds himself stuck behind the less technically talented Alex Iwobi.

So why not move to a league that boasts the youngest average first-teams out of all of Europe’s top five divisions?

Sancho’s call-up to the England squad would leave a clear blueprint for others to follow.

That’s sometimes all it takes for a trend to emerge.

There’s no need to waste your teenage years playing reserve football. There are clubs out there willing to play you from the get-go, as long as you’re good enough.

With the Premier League and the FA clearly disjointed we can no longer rely on domestic football to strengthen the national team.

Time to dust off the passports.


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