England news: Gareth Southgate reveals why Jadon Sancho is still going ‘under the radar’ | Football | Sport
Jadon Sancho is set to be given fourth England start against Kosovo this evening with Gareth Southgate convinced people still do not realise just how good he is.
The 19-year-old has been flying this season, with two goals and three assists in his first three Bundesliga appearances.
But because few England fans follow Borussia Dortmund’s fortunes, his exploits are going largely unnoticed.
“He’s one that, because of where he plays his club football, he still goes under the radar a little bit in terms of the quality of his performances and the level that he’s playing at every week,” Southgate said.
“So, I said when I named the squad, he’s not a player we’re looking to hold back. He’s a real competition.
“We talked really positively about the front three the other day – but he’s one that’s in that sort of bracket.”
Southgate is keen for his players to get behind Kosovo more than they were able to do against a packed Bulgaria defence.
Sancho has the exuberant confidence to take on his man although he remains a strangely muted figure around the England camp.
Southgate added: “I’m sure he’s not when he’s with the lads, but he’s quite quiet when we’re around and thoughtful.
“He’s confident in his own ability, you can see that in the way that he plays. But he’s very calm.
“He’s been through that development programme. He’s knows the environment we have.
“But also, the player has to take a huge amount of credit in those situations. You can get ideas given to you but then you’ve got to take them on board.
“And I like the fact that he’s another one that works extremely hard without the ball. You see him play for Dortmund, he’s very diligent in his work.
“But as well, he’s exciting in his ability to beat people and his decision-making when he’s running at speed is good.
“He’s able to find a pass and the right selection of pass, more often than not.”
The makers of video game FIFA 20 do not seem to think so. The ratings for players were released to great fanfare yesterday and Sancho took umbrage at the way his ability was scored.
“77 passing?” he tweeted in disgust at one of his ratings, out of 100. Clearly his recent form has gone under the radar of the computer programmers as well.
Southgate, on the other hand, is keen to thrust his young up-and-coming players into the limelight in a meaningful way.
Already, with qualification so firmly on course, he can think of his final 23 for the summer and he is aware the clock is beginning to tick with just seven more games to go until he has to make the cut.
“There’s a couple of players that we’re keen to see and I think it’s good, with such a quick turnaround, to freshen the team up a little bit,” Southgate said.
“But, I don’t want to lose the cohesion, so there won’t be too many.
“We’ve got players that we need to find out more about, give experience to, but in games where there’s plenty riding on it, not after we’ve already qualified.
“So we need to see people perform under pressure and how they’re going to cope with that. I think that tomorrow will be the case because it will be a proper test for us.”
Probable England XI to face Kosovo (4-3-3): Pickford; Alexander-Arnold, Keane, Maguire, Chilwell; Henderson, Rice, Barkley; Sterling, Kane, Sancho.