England have been accused by Borussia Dortmund midfielder Thomas Delaney of “hyping” players such as Jadon Sancho, with the exciting 18-year-old forward considered to be a “rough diamond”.
A product of Manchester City’s academy system, Sancho has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence since leaving English shores in the summer of 2017.
The first team opportunities denied him at the Etihad Stadium have been embraced in Germany, with senior international recognition coming his way as he thrives in the Bundesliga.
Big things are expected of Sancho for club and country, but Delaney believes too much is being made of a player still learning his trade – as is often the case with players of his ilk.
The Denmark international said ahead of an outing for Sancho at Wembley on Wednesday in a Champions League clash with Tottenham: “Jadon is a big, big talent and with talent comes opportunities and he has them for sure.
“But he is still 18 years old and he’s done amazingly at the moment but I think he’s not where he is supposed to be.
“He’s a rough diamond and he’ll get there. I feel a bit of responsibility for keeping him on the ground because I know, now we are here in England, you are world famous for hyping your own players.
“So we try to keep him on the ground because no doubt he has a big, big future in front of him.
“He’ll make great things but it takes hard work, it’s taking everything seriously and trusting the process because he’s very young.”
Sancho will not get the chance to face a couple of familiar faces in midweek as England colleagues Harry Kane and Dele Alli are sidelined, but the likes of Eric Dier, Kieran Trippier and Harry Winks may be involved.
Delaney says a man with inside knowledge of some of those within the Spurs set-up has not offered too much to his colleague in Dortmund.
He said: “He hasn’t told us much.
“I personally, and I think my team-mates, don’t have to prepare for a game like that against Tottenham.
“We see the players, we all know these guys, so there’s nothing to prepare for that in that regard. They are all well known players with a high level.”
Amid the excitement of a potential outing back on English soil, Sancho delayed Dortmund’s journey to England after arriving for an outbound flight without his passport.
He may face disciplinary action over that lack of concentration, with his club boss, Lucien Favre, telling reporters: “We’ll see. We will talk about this between us internally.”