NEYM GAME Sancho feels love for ‘different’ Neymar
JADON SANCHO is flying in the face of football opinion – by modelling himself on Neymar.
The England and Borussia Dortmund winger is gaining a reputation as one of Europe’s hottest young stars after lighting up the Bundesliga this year and helping his side go nine points clear at the top with a late winner against Schalke yesterday.
And the 18- year- old has shown that, aside from his pace and skill, he’s strong-minded with an unshakeable streak of self-confidence – by insisting his modern-day hero is Neymar.
That might be an unpopular choice in some quarters with Paris Saint-Germain’s brilliant Brazilian dividing fans with his diving antics.
Neymar, the world’s most expensive star at £198million, was criticised by Liverpool for falling over too easily in their Champions League clash in the French capital.
That came after a summer of condemnation for the South American after play- acting during the World Cup in Russia when he was ridiculed on social media.
But Sancho reckons Neymar is a star to look up to, despite his gamesmanship.
“Growing up, my favourite player was Ronaldinho – that speaks for itself really, he was such a great player and always played with a smile,” said Sancho.
“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 think that, when you are different, you stand out more because it’s an individuality on the pitch that you don’t see every day.”
Sancho is aiming to be a role model himself – after taking the brave decision to follow his dream and leave England for Germany to get the firstteam exposure that was impossible at Manchester
The former City youth star left the Etihad after failing to gain any assurances he would get regular first-team football under Pep Guardiola.
He was snapped up by Dortmund and his career has soared with performances earning a fast-track route into Gareth Southgate’s ( right) England team.
“I think I can be a role model to people growing up,” he said.
“OK, I’m only 18, but age is just a number really. 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 me along, you have to take your chances otherwise you can’t succeed. You can’t be your best if you don’t take chances.
“People ask me why hy Dortmund, a place where I don’t speak the language. But they have a lot of young players and they have faith in them and that’s really good when you are trying to develop.
“That’s one of the main reasons I came, plus it’s a big club in a big league, so why not?
“It’s not been easy at times. It’s hard understanding the language sometimes. I’m learning German, but it’s taking time. You just have to have a lot of balls to step up and say, ‘I’m gonna do what I’m g gonna do and follow m my dream’.
“Obviously, City have a great team, b but I just felt my p pathway was limited, give given the players City had, so Dortmund was the best opportunity to express myself .
“I love football and will do anything to fulfil my dream. I hope other young English players follow my lead. They just feel more comfortable with the football in England.
“I’m not saying it’s wrong for young players to stay in England. Players progress in different ways. My way was to go abroad and show people what I have.
“I’m just showing people that there are other teams who are willing to play young players – Dortmund is one of them. I want to be a player where people will say, ‘ Yeah, I want him in my team’ and people like me for who I am.”
PLENTY TO SHOUT ABOUT: Dortmund star Sancho and (inset, below right) Neymar JADON SANCHO has revealed he won’t let German barbers near his hair.Despite living in Dortmund, Sancho admits he flies his own barber from England to Germany to tend to his hair rather than take a risk with a local snipper.“I don’t trust German barbers, so I don’t get my hair cut here,” he said. “When I want a trim, I get my man over from England.“I’ve seen the barbers in Germany! I’m loyal. I like my own man. I’d prefer not having a trim for three months rather than go there.”Sancho treated himself to a Rolex and a Mercedes after making it into the first team at Dortmund.But the youngster is grounded enough to know he’s still got plenty of work to do – especially on his left foot.“My weakness is my left foot, I need to improve it,” he added.“I need to dribble more and shoot more with my left foot.“It’s difficult because now that I’m playing at a high level, I don’t like using my left foot that much because I don’t want to lose the ball.“As I get more comfortable in the team, I’m trying to use my left more because the manager and coaches at Dortmund keep telling me I need to use my left foot to stay in the team.“I’ve taken that on board.”