When Dortmund shipped off Jadon Sancho to Manchester United back in the in the summer of 2021, it marked BVB’s first succesful experience in raising English talent to an elite level. The sale of Jude Bellingham to Real Madrid last summer was yet another success story for Die Schwarzgelben. Jude obviously stole the headlines when he arrived for no less than 30 million euros at the ripe age of 16, and that meant that another young 16-year old Englishman didn’t get as much attention in the fanbase or media when he arrived on a free transfer from Manchester City’s youth academy.
Jamie Bynoe-Gittens first joined Mike Tullberg’s U19 Dortmund side and quickly established himself as a very dangerous player in both the U19 Bundesliga West, the Uefa Youth League and the DFB Pokal der Junioren. After a streak of good performances, Bynoe-Gittens finally caught the eye of the then coach, Marco Rose. Since JBG first made his Bundesliga debut back in May 2022, he has faced a lot of setbacks, particularly torn ankle ligaments and a nasty shoulder injury which kept him out until most recently. Now he’s back in business, and there are multiple different reasons why Terzic should be happy about that.
Dortmund’s Struggling Offense
Dortmund’s season so far has had a lot of ups and downs. One week you get absolutely annihilated by VfB Stuttgart, and just a couple of weeks later, you advance from the group of death with a convincing away victory at the San Siro. Dortmund’s problems have stemmed from multiple different sources this season. The defense is still very inconsistent, and the team hasn’t been able to get the offense going as much as Edin Terzic would have liked. So far, the top goal scorers for the team are Julian Brandt, Donyell Malen and Niclas Füllkrug (4). While it can be good that goals are spread out across the entire team, I would argue it’s still a cause for concern when Serhou Guirassy, Harry Kane or even Alex Grimaldo so far have scored two, four or five times that amount.
Dortmund’s wingers in particular have struggled this season, and it has been quite a headache for Edin Terzic. The coach has often resorted to using Brandt as a makeshift winger instead of fielding Karim Adeyemi, who have been struggling—I would like to think that much of this comes down to Terzic’s tactical system just as much as form, but who am I to judge! While Donyell Malen can be very impressive on his good days, he’s still far too inconsistent to count on for + 15 xG+A a season. Again, I would like to emphasize that Malen was originally (and possibly still is) a striker, and that’s why he’s struggling, but that’s worth a whole article in itself.
The Hero We Need
Not since the days of Jadon Sancho have Dortmund had a natural winger who can consistently drive the ball forward, challenge fullbacks in one-on-one duels and get the ball into the box, not by crossing, but by beating opponents out wide. While JBG is still very raw as a player, I think there are no doubts whether the talent is there. He has recently showcased what looks like an innate finishing ability with two very well taken finishes against Mönchengladbach and AC Milan.
When comparing JBG to his colleagues in offense in Karim Adeyemi and Donyell Malen (I still refuse to view Brandt as a winger), there are some notable differences in their stats. Adeyemi’s stats are reflective of two things. The first one is obviously his dip in form, and the second one is him not being a winger. If we are to trust that the stats are a reflection of how Adeyemi generally likes to play, we can conclude that he’s not a duelist nor a ball carrier, which are both two very important traits to have if you are to be effective from a wide position. I’ve highlighted before how I think Malen has done better at transitioning into a winger, and I do think his stats show that. But what he can’t compete with is a player who’s stats reflect the skillset of a pure bred winger. JBG is in the absolute top when it comes to both progressive carries (98th percentile) and succesful take-ons (95th percentile). He also outshines both Adeyemi and Malen shot-creating actions, and if you have watched the young Englishman lately, you’ll know exactly why.
JBG’s directness and urge to move the ball forward can sometimes make him look God-awful, but it’s also exactly what Dortmund currently needs. They need someone who can consistently get the ball into dangerous areas, draw fouls and create high probability chances, because in the end, it will be reflected in the amount of points Dortmund can snatch in the league and their ability to advance deeper into cup competitions.
The Right Attitude
For some elite players, sporting ability has never been a problem, but attitude problems have been a big roadblock for some (I’m looking at you, Ousmane Dembélé). From what I have sniffed up as a fan, JBG seems to have a good personal foundation for developing into an elite player. In interviews, he’s always humble (almost too humble), and his somewhat quiet demeanour is quite the opposite of what we’ve experienced earlier in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembélé and even to some extent, Jadon Sancho.
Jamie Bynoe Gittens is extremely well-accepted in the dressing room. His diet is aimed at benefiting his top speed; he doesn't take sugar. At the end of 2022, he moved out of the BVB academy into his own apartment.— ari (@aritrabvb1909) November 30, 2023
Kehl: "He is extremely accepted." [BILD] pic.twitter.com/xf6puFGmJK
I’m 100% certain that BVB will do everything they can in order to make JBG a succesful project. The club currently doesn’t have an Erling Haaland or Jude Bellingham in their ranks, and if Watzke, Kehl, Terzic and co. are to keep BVB’s young talent goodwill intact, they’ll need to bring at least one of JBG, Duranville or Moukoko to the next level.
Ever since the rubbish transfer window last summer, it hasn’t exactly been easy to be a Dortmund fan (is it ever?), but at least we finally have a player at our hands who is genuinely fun to watch, fits into the system and has a good personal and sporting foundation for developing into the next big thing in Dortmund. Let’s hope that this is the real breakout season for Jamie Bynoe-Gittens.
I’m obviously a certified JBG enjoyer, so was this just mindless propaganda, or are you officially on the JBG wagon? Let me know in the comments below!