Jadon Sancho has admitted he is not looking at transfer speculation amid links with a move to Manchester United, while he wants to win the Ballon D’Or more than once in his career.
Sancho has been outlined as a major target at Old Trafford thanks to his performances over the past three seasons for Borussia Dortmund. The England winger scored 17 goals and added 16 assists in the 2019-20 Bundesliga.
Man Utd see him as an ideal addition to their squad, but Dortmund are standing firm. The Bundesliga club have publicly stated that their deadline to sell Sancho has passed – but reports continue to circulate suggesting United will test their resolve.
One man who will not be looking at too many of those reports, though, is Sancho. In an interview with Soccer Bible, the 20-year-old has admitted he does not want to get distracted by the rumours.
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He said: “I try not to look at the media because I think once you start looking at all that, it would be easy to get carried away with it. It can affect players.
“For me it’s about not looking at those things and just focusing on trying to do the best I can on the pitch. Especially in training. For me it’s about improving every single day.
“It’s important for me to keep a smile on my face and keep happy. I don’t really look at all the noise and all that stuff. I’d rather keep my head down, keep focus and improve every day.”
Sancho has certainly been reaping the rewards of that attitude, as he continued to show his potential after the Bundesliga re-started behind closed doors in May.
The former Manchester City youngster managed to score his first career hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Paderborn. And he admits the experience of playing without fans was strange, but one he made the most of.
“Yeah it’s been interesting but I’m cool,” he said. “Again, the pandemic was a weird stage in football. No fans allowed in the stadium and things like that were strange. So it was a weird one for so many reasons but I enjoyed it once I got on the pitch.
“It didn’t phase me that there weren’t any fans. I just tried to do my best and I actually scored my first professional hat-trick and there were no fans in the stadium [laughs]. In that sense I didn’t mind it without fans.
“Some people may say it means there’s less pressure. I’m not using that as an excuse though. I’m looking forward to fans coming back.”
The pandemic also pushed back the Euros from 2020 until next summer, meaning Sancho will have to wait another year for his first taste of a major tournament with England.
While he was disappointed to miss out on the chance to carry his momentum forward onto the European stage, he is optimistic that England will be stronger for it.
“I was gutted,” he said of the postponement. “Obviously I’ve been doing my thing this season and I was ready to go.
“I don’t mind it being pushed back though. I feel like the England squad has a lot of players who are interesting at the moment. It’s going to be interesting to see who makes the squad.
“The players we have now are great and the young players that are coming up now like Bukayo Saka, Mason Greenwood – these guys are talented. It’s interesting to see what they’re doing week in, week out. They’re doing a madness so it’s going to be a very tough decision for Gareth Southgate to make.
“Again it’s healthy competition and you’ve just got to do your thing and everyone is going to be doing their best. It’s exciting to see.
“Everyone is young so everyone has got a lot of time to develop and improve as they get older. I think the fresh legs of us is big.
“For me, when I’ve played for England, it’s that extra boost. When you play for your country and you’re young, you want to do more. When you get the ball you want to make the fans excited – it’s that little buzz that the youngsters have at the moment.
“When they get on the ball, they want to do something for the fans and show them what they have.
“You know how football works; if you play one day and you don’t play as well you did previously, you might get dropped so I feel like everyone is showing what they’ve got and really taking each moment. There’s a lot of flair in our squad.”
Turning his attention to his wider ambitions after such a positive start to his career, Sancho was asked if winning the Ballon D’Or was a target.
The Dortmund star revealed he does have his eyes on the prize in the future – and would like to do it more than once.
“Obviously every young kid growing up, that’s something they’re looking at,” Sancho said. “For me though, if I win a couple, then I’ll feel like I’ve achieved what I wanted to do in this life.
“Obviously there’s other great goals I want to accomplish like winning the World Cup, the Champions League and all these other great things but yeah, Ballon D’Or is just like… there’s so many players in the world and to win that you would have been selected to be the best of the best.
“That feeling… Obviously I haven’t been in that situation so I don’t know what it’s like but looking at other people’s reactions when they’ve won it – it’s an emotional moment. I just have to keep on working on myself to get there.
“With one, people could say it’s a fluke. With two, it would just say, ‘OK, he’s done his thing, he’s done his thing’.”
Meanwhile, Dortmund directors are continuing to insist that Sancho’s short-term future has definitely been resolved.
Sebastian Kehl, who used to play for the German club and is now a director there, insists Sancho is staying for “at least” another year.
“Jadon is happy to stay. He has a contract until 2023,” Kehl said.
“I see him on the pitch and he is very happy. Everyone is very happy to have him. He is going to be here for at least one more season.”