'He takes the mickey out of people' – Sancho names Neymar as his favourite player

The 18-year-old made his England debut in October and says he wants to act as a role model to young players in the English game

Jadon Sancho has admitted his favourite player is Neymar despite the Brazilian’s reputation for diving and gamesmanship.

The 18-year-old winger has enjoyed a remarkable start to the season with Borussia Dortmund, scoring six times and bagging five assists in just 14 Bundesliga appearances.

Sancho moved to Germany from Manchester City in 2017 in search of first team opportunities and the move has paid off as he has endeared himself to the Dortmund fans with his pace and dribbling ability.

That flair on the pitch is reminiscent of a number of Brazilian forwards and Sancho has opened up about his idols: “Growing up, my ­favourite player was Ronaldinho,” he told the Mirror. “That speaks for itself, really. He was such a great player and always played with a smile.

“Now it’s Neymar, because he’s just different. He takes the mickey out of people. Obviously it’s not good but he’s just being himself, he’s expressing himself and I love that. People are maybe not scared about doing what he does, but they just wouldn’t do the things he’s doing.

“I just think when you are different you stand out more and I like when ­people stand out because it’s something different, an individuality on the pitch that you just don’t see every day.”

Sancho made his England debut against Croatia in October and started last month’s friendly against the USA, suggesting the teenager’s move abroad has paid off.

He claims more young players should follow in his footsteps by moving away from England and says he wants to set an example for youngsters coming through academies in his homeland. 

“I think I can be a role model to people growing up,” Sancho continued. “OK, I’m only 18 but age is just a number. If you’re good enough, why not? In England especially, footballers don’t leave the country until they are at least 22.

“I would say to anyone, ‘Don’t be afraid to follow me and make a move like this.’

“You are here for one reason and that’s to make it as a footballer. So when they come along you have to take your chances, otherwise you can’t succeed. You can’t be your best if you don’t take chances.”

Dortmund have become famous for blooding young talent with managers Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel building their reputations for developing youth in recent years.

Despite that, Sancho’s transfer was still seen as a risk by many and it surprised some of his peers to see him move to a non-English speaking country.

“People ask me why Dortmund — a place where I don’t speak the language. But they play a lot of young players and they have faith in a lot of young players, and that’s really good when you are ­trying to develop as a player. That’s one of the main reasons I came.

“Plus it’s a big club in a big league, so why not?”

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