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Great Britain

Jadon Sancho aiming to help other kids keep clear of bad people as he returns to London

JADON SANCHO was only six months old when England played their final game at the old Wembley in October 2000.

It was a World Cup qualifier against Germany, the country now home to a teenage Sancho.

And where the English whizkid, 18, has just become the youngest player to score eight Bundesliga goals.

Borussia Dortmund’s poster boy returns to his home city tomorrow to face Tottenham at the new Wembley — in a Champions League match for which Sancho has had to locate 30 tickets for friends and family.

Yet while he belongs to the FIFA generation — having got to know his Dortmund team-mates via Xbox — Sancho is clearly in check with real life and appears to be growing into a sensible and impressive character.

His message about his remarkable season was clear: “It hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to work for this.”

As he spoke about life in Germany and his hopes for the future, Sancho revealed his plans to return home to speak to youngsters at his former schools to reinforce that message.

To tell them about the importance of staying out of trouble and focusing on studying.

Sancho comes from Kennington in south London and witnessed some unsavoury things growing up.

Aged 12, he became a boarder at Watford FC’s partner school, The Harefield Academy, but is proud of his roots.

Asked whether he could be a role model both on and off the pitch, he said: “For sure. My friends back there have brothers and sisters in Kennington and they always ask me, ‘Can I have a shirt for my little brother or my cousin?’ and I always send them.

“I will never forget where I have come from because I know what it is like growing up in that area and it is not nice, especially when you have people around you doing bad things.

“For the kids that are in south London, I hope I can give a positive message. Don’t do those bad things.

“You don’t have to be footballers. You could focus on your school work. Education is the most important thing and a lot of kids in south London get distracted from education. I am lucky enough I had the opportunity to go to Harefield at the time.

“I didn’t really want to go to that boarding school. I wanted to stay at home and travel. But the people around me told me what was best and I listened to them — and I am happy that I am here today, where I am.

“So, I am looking to do some interviews in schools where I can help south London kids just like me.

“I was where they are once upon a time and I just want to give them a good message, and I think that would be nice for them to hear.

“I am trying to go back to my old schools first and hopefully, if things progress, I can go to other schools and just give that message and give things out that would be nice for the school, like footballs.”

Pushed to explain those “bad things”, he added: “I don’t really want to go into detail, but it is just about having the wrong people around you.

“Things can escalate very quickly and it wasn’t right, so I had to get out of there and focus on what I loved.”

He will try and tackle this with his message to Kennington schoolkids.

Sancho explained: “It is just about doing the wrong things. Like being out late. Just stay at home.”

For an 18-year-old to come out with this sort of stuff is pretty impressive.  And the fact that Dortmund allowed Sancho to speak so openly ahead of such a big game is also refreshing.

It is something many Premier League clubs could learn from.

Jadon Sancho stunning highlights reel of talent in just one game for Borussia Dortmund

Ahead of his interview with the British media at Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park stadium, Sancho introduced himself and shook the hands of the journalists present.

Dortmund’s press officer revealed his admiration that Sancho has behaved in this way ever since he arrived from Manchester City in August 2017.

Now tearing things up in the Bundesliga, form which has now seen him capped three times by England, there is no doubt he was right to make the move, as  he would not have been anywhere near City’s first team.

He said: “It was a big decision for me. I just have to keep focused and probably just reflect on how it’s all gone well when the season has finished. But right now I just have to keep working hard and keep improving day by day.

“It hasn’t been easy, training and showing what I’m about to the coaches. They’ve seen what I can do and I’ve been showing it in games — doing my skills and what I do best.”

Sancho is settled in Dortmund and key to that is having dad Sean in Germany with him.

He revealed: “I’m in an apartment with my dad. But I think me being so comfortable being abroad, it’s due to the fact I’ve always been away from home from young.

“I like Dortmund a lot. It’s just chilled, nice people, I’m loving it. Obviously, speaking German will be always kind of hard to me but I’m getting the basics right, working on speaking it in training.

Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho dedicates winning goal to late grandmother

“I know what the manager is saying in training, which makes it easier for me and for the players also. That’s how you interact, you come together more.

“I’m improving every day and the likes of Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and Axel Witsel are great role models to me and everyone else in the team.

“It’s really nice to have them around telling me what to do, and what’s not good, helping me solve things I wouldn’t solve by myself.

“I felt at the time that I needed to try something different and Borussia Dortmund was the club I went to and chose.

“I thought, ‘This will be my new home’. I’ll work really hard to prove myself and for others around the world to watch what I can do.”

His sights are firmly set on Spurs, a team he would love to beat due to his own allegiances.

Asked whether he is a Chelsea fan, Sancho roared with laughter.  “Who me?  I’m not gonna lie. It is correct.”

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