He only played for about 8 minutes, but Jadon Sancho’s debut for Dortmund was an influential one. BVB drew the game 2-2 with Eintracht Frankfurt, and Sancho impressed in a short period of time.
The England U-17 international almost made an instant impact on the pitch. He was denied a dream debut goal late in the match. Instead, the impact of this appearance will be felt off the field, rather than on it.
Sancho joined Dortmund on August 31st for a reported fee of £8 million. He had grown unhappy at Manchester City, as he didn’t see a realistic path from the youth teams to the senior team. He was linked to other big English clubs like Chelsea and Arsenal, but ultimately decided to take his talents to Germany.
Upon signing for BVB Sancho was immediately added to the senior team. It’s safe to assume that was part of the deal that persuaded him to join Dortmund over other clubs. Now, only two months into the season, he has already been given his opportunity with the first team, becoming the first player born in the 21st century to play for the club.
Christian Pulisic is the biggest recent name that comes to mind, but BVB have a proven history of giving youngsters a chance in their first team. Sancho can be the next talented teenager to follow that path. But even if he doesn’t have the type of success that Pulisic and others have had, he was still given a chance in a tense situation in an important game.
Would he have gotten the opportunity to immediately play first-team football in the Premier League if he had gone to Stamford Bridge or The Emirates? This is a kid who is more suited to senior football than your average 17-year-old, but the chance wouldn’t have come so soon if he picked London over Dortmund.
Other talented youngsters will see what Sancho does at Dortmund. They’ll see the opportunities that he gets, that Pulisic gets, that Dan-Axel Zagadou gets, and they’ll recognize BVB as a desirable destination for them to learn and grow as players.
Dortmund know this. Just look at the way Michael Zorc spoke about Sancho in the official announcement of his signing:
“We're delighted that Jadon Sancho, who is at present one of the hottest prospects in European football, wants to and will play for Borussia Dortmund. We're convinced that we'll be able to help this very young player to further develop his game and to make him into a valuable addition to our team in the medium-term”
It’s as much a welcoming statement as it is an advertisement. Europe’s most promising young players have a clear path to the first-team football they desire. Just come to Dortmund, work hard at developing your game, and you will eventually get the opportunity to show your stuff at the highest level.