Pep Guardiola Says Jadon Sancho 'Didn't Want to Take This Challenge' at Man City

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2019

DORTMUND, GERMANY - MARCH 09: Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund controls the ball during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and VfB Stuttgart at Signal Iduna Park on March 9, 2019 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said Jadon Sancho left the club because he "didn't want to" accept the challenge of breaking into the team at the Etihad Stadium.

Sancho left City for Borussia Dortmund in 2017 aged 17 without having made a first-team appearance for the Sky Blues.

Per the Mirror's Matt Maltby, Guardiola was asked about his decision, and while it's clear he bears no grudges against the youngster for leaving, he indicated Sancho took the easy way out:

"I don't know. He didn't want to take this challenge, this opportunity to discover if he was able to.

"He decided to go there. So, it's perfect. It's going well and congratulations on what he is doing.

"He is doing an incredible performance. He did it incredibly well this season. What would have happened this season [at City]? I don't know. Again, with the players, it depends on them and what they do on the pitch."

The decision seems to have paid off for Sancho, who has become a first-team regular at Dortmund this season.

He has made 34 appearances in all competitions, starting 23 of them, and contributed nine goals and 15 assists along the way.

The teenager's remarkable pace and skill have been on show for all to see:

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

£100m for Jadon Sancho? 🤑 He is being linked with a huge move back to the Premier League... He's tearing up the Bundesliga this season 🙌 https://t.co/P2GJTEc14p

Squawka shared the numbers behind his impressive showing against Hoffenheim:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Jadon Sancho's game by numbers vs. Hoffenheim: 7 take-ons 4 shots 2 shots on target 2 chances created 2 crosses 1 goal So, so good. ⭐️ https://t.co/xJJ7E3Ccrh

His efforts have earned him three senior England appearances under Gareth Southgate, and he's in their squad once again for their upcoming UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying fixtures against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.

BT Sport pundit and former England international Rio Ferdinand has a high opinion of Sancho:

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

"I think he will be the best English player in the coming years." Driven. Professional. Talented. Jadon Sancho is setting the football world alight 👏 His showreel is 🔥 https://t.co/M5sDSdyKdu

By contrast, Phil Foden—who was in the same generation as Sancho coming through City's academy—has played just 876 minutes of senior football with the Sky Blues this season.

Spread across 23 appearances, he has averaged just 38 minutes on the pitch per outing and started just eight times. Of those starts, none have come in the Premier League, and half of them have been against lower league opposition in the Carabao or FA Cup.

Had Sancho remained at City, he'd be competing with Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva for game time, so for all his talent, he'd likely be in a similar situation to Foden.

Foden has impressed and may gradually become a more regular contributor in the first team, but Sancho is playing high-level football regularly in a formative time in his development.

What's more, while getting into Dortmund's side may be easier than doing the same at City, Sancho's exit also saw him move to a different country at the age of 17.

If his move to Dortmund seems easy, it is because he has made it look easy.