GLEN JOHNSON: With the return of the Bundesliga this weekend, Brand Ambassador Glen Johnson focuses his attention on Jadon Sancho, who he feels would be a perfect fit for both the Premier League and Liverpool.
I’m sure the majority of football fans are really looking forward to seeing some live action over the weekend with the return of the Bundesliga and if I were still playing I’d be chomping at the bit to get going again. Everyone is in different walks of life, so although I’d be really keen to get playing again, it doesn’t mean all players will be. The younger lads might be living by themselves and so the team environment will be just what they want, but the older guys might have family commitments and other things like that.
All eyes on Sancho
Although I haven’t seen an awful lot of him, the stuff I have seen of Jadon Sancho has been very impressive. He’s clearly got immense talent and has all the attributes to go far in the game, but he’s still a long way off being a world beater. I watched him live at Wembley for England last year and the two things that impressed me were how direct he was and also the work rate he showed. There are loads of young players out there who can dribble with the ball, but there are much fewer that want to work hard and track back when it’s required.
Based on that, I think he’d be really well-suited to the Premier League. It’s not an environment you can hide in and if you’ve got any weaknesses they’ll get identified very quickly. It’s clear there is loads he still needs to work on, but he looks the type who is going to want to learn and improve. Based on what I’ve seen so far I think he’d fit in the Premier League really well.
Liverpool surely the most attractive option
Sancho has been linked with almost all of Europe’s top clubs, but from my perspective he’ll surely find it very hard to turn down Liverpool if they come knocking. I know exactly what it means to put on the shirt and for any young English footballer playing at Anfield it is what you dream of. They’ve got one of the best managers in the world in Jurgen Klopp, they’re European champions and are going to win the Premier League, so it would be very tough to not be seriously tempted if they were after Sancho’s signature.
If he wants to play in England, no club is able to offer him the success that Liverpool are currently enjoying and that will surely be a big sway towards him going there. If he were to go to a club like Manchester United, there would be so much pressure on him to perform as soon as he walked through the door and for someone so young that’s a lot of responsibility to take on. He’ll be expected to improve the team overnight and that simply doesn’t happen, whereas at Liverpool he’d be under so much less pressure to perform. They wouldn’t need to put him into the team every week and instead they’d make him earn his stripes. I think that would actually develop him more than just sticking him in from the get-go.
We all know that Liverpool have an established front three at the moment with Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, but as we know things change incredibly fast in football and who knows where they’ll be in two or three years? I’m not saying they’ll move on during that time, but you never know what might happen and if nothing else, adding another top-class player to Liverpool’s attacking ranks might actually spur them on to play better. An improved Firmino, Salah and Mane alongside a more experienced Sancho would be a pretty terrifying thought for opposition defences.
English players going abroad
Sancho is one of a very select few young English players to have moved abroad and, in all honesty, I’m not sure why more don’t do it. If you want to play football regularly and you’re not getting the opportunities in England you’ve got to do something about it. I think sometimes a lot of players get comfortable with where they are and don’t perhaps look at the bigger picture.
I’ve got a lot of respect for players who give it a go and make the move because it’s a massive decision. Even though it’s something I never did, it’s something I would definitely have considered during my career if it had been the right move. I remember when I was very young at West Ham I could have gone anywhere. Things were going well at the time so I had no reason to move, but if they weren’t showing any interest in me and a foreign club did, I would have had no hesitation in going abroad.
For young players, it’s something they should strongly consider because moving to another country might be the move that kickstarts your career. The opportunities abroad might suit a certain player better and that could be what they need in order to fulfil their potential.
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