Owen Hargreaves insists Jadon Sancho ‘deserves a lot of credit’ for his decision to head to the Bundesliga in search of regular first-team football.
Sancho has established himself as one of the most exciting talents in world football after making a decision to leave Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund in 2017, the winger having grown frustrated at the lack of a clear pathway to the first-team under Pep Guardiola.
The 20-year-old has flourished since moving to German football and is now a key figure for both Dortmund and England, and Hargreaves – who started his own playing career at Bayern Munich after growing up in Canada – believes Sancho deserves huge credit for leaving his ‘comfort zone’ in a bid to further his development.
“I think he deserves a lot of credit as any player who leaves their comfort zone does,” Hargreaves told Goal. “Over here, I only played in Germany because a guy spotted me who was German with German contacts.
“If I was growing up in England, I would have played at a Premier League team. For me my path was different, but he could have gone anywhere. He saw that Dortmund were good at developing young players and giving them a platform.
“I think the opportunity is there. I was in Germany once and I spoke to a sporting director at Augsburg who I used to play with. At the time I was coaching in Man City’s academy and I said to him ‘there’s so many good players in the academies in England that it is crazy’.
“At Chelsea, [Manchester] United, City these guys can’t get a game. That was four years ago. Now it feels like there’s an influx of English kids going over there. Not every kid is going to be Jadon because Jadon is pretty special but I think the quicker you play men’s football, the better.
“Dele Alli is a great example in going down to League One. He was playing even earlier than Jadon with MK Dons. It was so good for him and he can then go to a Tottenham.
“I think if kids get into an academy of a big team it is great, and all those teams want these boys. But you are almost better off doing what Dele did – going out of the academy and playing men’s football.
“If your academy isn’t offering you first-team football then definitely do what Jadon Sancho did and go to Germany. Bundesliga is a great spot. It is not the same level as the Premier League but it isn’t far behind.”
Sancho has been strongly linked with a move back to the Premier League this summer, with Manchester United said to be leading the £100 million chase for his signature, with Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona also linked.