Analysis: Jadon Sancho

By Duncan Ritchie

25-August-2020 on News

11 minute read

Borussia Dortmund certainly know how to pick their players. After our look at 15-year-old wunderkind, Youssoufa Moukoko in last weeks post, we turn our attention back to the German side for this week’s analysis, looking at another bright young thing, Jadon Sancho.

 

Dortmund picked up Sancho 3 years ago from Manchester City for a reported €8 million after the youngster became disillusioned with the English club under the reign of Guardiola. 3 short years later, Sancho has become a first team regular at Dortmund, scoring 22 goals last season and being called up for international duties with England’s first team where he’s already bagged two goals.

 

In retrospect, that initial €8 million outlay from the German club must seem like a bargain as they’ve just slapped a €108 million price tag on him, a price which Manchester United, amongst others, are seriously considering paying.

 

So, let’s take a look at this young man and try to determine if he’s actually worth such a huge fee…

Fact File

 

 

Age: 20                                                                           Height: 180 cm

 

Right-Footed                                                                  International: England (11 Caps)

 

Current Club: Borussia Dortmund                                    Position: Right Winger / Attacking Midfielder

 

Matches played 20/21 season: 49                                Goals: 22

 

Key skills: Playmaker with phenomenal dribbling and finishing skills when running at opponents.

 

Background

 

 

Jadon Sancho grew up in Kennington in South London and quickly came to the attention of pro-clubs throughout the English capital. Although a lifelong Chelsea fan, Jadon was snapped up for academy football by Watford at the age of 7.

 

Continuing to excel at soccer, he made the move to Manchester City at the age of 15 where he quickly progressed through the ranks, taking centre stage in their youth teams. In 2017, he was called into the service of the U17 English national side and named player of the tournament at the U17 UEFA European Championships.

 

After such a tremendous tourney, Jadon expected to get his call up to the Manchester City first team but was left to languish on the side-lines as the seniors embarked on a tour of the USA before the 2017/18 season. Disgruntled and considering his future in soccer, Sancho stalled on signing a new deal with the Manchester club which was enough to have several suitors circling. Clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Leipzig showed major interest but, as history shows, it was Dortmund that won out.

 

During his time at Dortmund, Sancho has shown incredible form scoring 13 goals with 19 assists during the 18/19 Bundesliga season and 22 goals with 20 assists last season. He also got his first call up to England’s senior team where he has so far racked up 11 caps with 2 goals.

 

All in all, Sancho has had a meteoric start to his career.

 

InStat Index

 

Before we move on, let’s talk a little about the InStat Index…

 

 

The InStat Index is basically a way to rate a player’s performance over the course of a game or a series of games based on the actions taken by the player. For example, a striker who scores 5 goals in a game, provides 12 assists and completes all their key passes is going to get an extremely high Index number. A defender who gives away the ball in his own half, makes critical mistakes which leads to the opponent scoring a goal and generally plays badly will get a very low score.

 

The player with the highest current Index score is Lionel Messi, sitting at an average of 416. Sancho’s average is currently 328.

 

For the sake of this analysis we’re going to look at 5 games Sancho was involved in: the one with his highest Index score, his lowest Index score and three games which come in at around his average.

 

The five matches we’re looking at are:

 

Union Berlin. Loss. 1-3. 31/8/19. InStat Index – 325


Eintracht Frankfurt. Draw. 2-2- 22/9/19. InStat Index – 332

 

Hertha BSC. Win. 2-1. 30/11/19. InStat Index – 324

 

Hoffenheim. Loss. 1-2. 20/12/19. InStat Index – 235

 

Paderborn. Win. 6-1. 31/5/20. InStat Index – 514

 

As always, we downloaded the match data and videos from InStat’s databases and fed them into Nacsport Scout+ where the data was filtered and video analysed.

 

 

Goalscoring

 

So, let’s open the Nacsport Data Matrix for these 5 games and take a look at Sancho’s statistics.

 

 

The first thing that sticks out is the “Goals” descriptor which shows 5 goals from 5 games, an enviable statistic for a striker, let alone a right winger like Sancho…

 

But wait a minute, we have a statistical anomaly here. You see, in the match against Paderborn, Sancho scored a hattrick, which may be fudging the numbers a little. Nevertheless, he did score at least once in 3 of the 5 games we looked at, a great average.

 

In my opinion, the really interesting statistic related to goalscoring is the “Shots” descriptor. If we check this column, we can see that Sancho had 5 shots on target (plus two that went wide). Basically, what this means is that every time Sancho had a shot on target during these matches, he scored. A 100% success rate! Amazing accuracy!

 

The majority of the goals he has scored throughout the season have come from inside the eighteen-yard box from a position directly in front of goal. This can be attributed to long diagonal runs from the wing into the box and great positioning where his teammates can slot it through, leaving defenders looking on.

 

 

Look at this typical example against Hertha Berlin:

 

 

When in the box, Jadon also has great awareness of the space around him and a killer instinct. Let’s look at his second goal against Paderborn where we can see this clinical finish with his “weak” left foot. Beautiful goal:

 

 

Playmaking and Positioning

 

If we go back to our Data Matrix again, we can see the biggest strength of Sancho’s game…as a playmaker.

 

During the 5 games we analysed, Sancho was involved in an incredible 489 positional attacks. Within these we can see how well he linked up with his teammates with a total of 280 passes with a small fraction, only 49, being unsuccessful.

 

43 of these passes where key moves into the penalty box to help get Dortmund into a scoring position.

 

Take a look at this example from the game against Union Berlin to see how deadly his link up play can be:

 

 

Weaknesses

 

Sancho is in his element when playing out of midfield, linking up with his teammates, heading up the wing and running into the box, there’s no denying this, but there are elements to his game which could be developed, based on our analysis.

 

Firstly, Sancho seems to lack physicality, especially when it comes to challenging for the ball. In the five games we analysed, there are only 5 instances of him sticking the boot in for a tackle, each one being unsuccessful.

 

There are also elements of his attacking play which could use some work. For example, his crossing prowess is less than exemplary. Out of a total of 14 crosses played, only 2 met their intended target, not great for a winger!

 

There also seems to be a certain lack of consistency to Sancho’s game at the moment, as can be witnessed by his InStat Index which ranges from 235 in the Hoffenheim game to 514 in the Paderborn game, and everywhere in between. When playing out of position, Sancho may feel a little lost, as seen in the Hoffenhiem game where he was played on the left wing instead of his natural habitat on the right.

 

That being said, he is young, with plenty of time to develop these skills, and nobody can deny his goalscoring and playmaking attributes. Check out this video of all his goals and assists from last season:

 

 

Conclusion

 

Recent reports suggest that Borussia Dortmund are in no hurry to sell Sancho and are planning to keep him in the ranks for the coming season. This may be the main reason for the inflated €108 million price tag handed to Manchester United.

 

Whatever the case, Jadon Sancho is an exciting prospect, generating a lot of interest in soccer circles and would be an asset to any team he plays in, especially after developing the skills we have highlighted above.

 

 

This report has been created by combining data from InStat and Nacsport video analysis software. If you are interested in the power of sports video analysis, why not click the link below to download a completely FREE no obligation Nacsport trial today.

 

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