Jadon Sancho has sought to shut down talk of his intense links to Manchester United being a source of distraction, with the Borussia Dortmund winger adamant that he has merely suffered a “little dip” at the start of the 2020-21 campaign.
The 20-year-old forward dominated headlines throughout the summer transfer window after United had identified him as a top target and wasted considerable time and energy in trying to put a deal in place.
Dortmund stood firm and refused to buckle under pressure, with the Bundesliga outfit making it clear that they had no intention of parting with Sancho.
That is because he has become a key figure for them since bursting onto the scene as precociously-gifted teenager.
Sancho’s standards have slipped early on this season, with just two goals and four assists recorded, but the England international insists that is not due to his head being turned by the Red Devils.
He told ITV Sport when that question was put to him: “Nah, I don’t think so.
“I feel like every player has a little dip in their career, and I feel I’m going through that at the moment. It is just how I’m bouncing back and I am just happy to have managers who have faith in and keep sight of me.”
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate handed Sancho a start in a 3-0 friendly win over the Republic of Ireland.
That faith was rewarded with a lively performance that included a third goal for his country, with Sancho adding: “I’m just happy to be starting for England. Every time I play I just try to do my best and luckily today I got the goal. I’m happy to help the team again.
“I expect a lot from myself personally. When I play I try to assist and score, and help the team. For a couple of games I haven’t been assisting or scoring but I knew I had the chance to do that.”
Sancho billed Jack Grealish, who also caught the eye when starting for England, as a “great player” and considers Dortmund team-mate Jude Bellingham to be fully deserving of the senior international bow that has come his way at 17 years of age.
He said of a club colleague: “He deserves it. At Dortmund he gives 100 per cent and his performances are world class. I’m happy for him.”