Wayne Rooney has told England star Jadon Sancho to stay at Borussia Dortmund if that's where he'll receive the best playing opportunities, despite rumours linking the youngster to former club Manchester United.
Sancho, 19, left Manchester City for Dortmund in 2017 and has blossomed in the Bundesliga. His displays have reportedly attracted the attention of United among others, but Rooney told Bild (h/t Goal's Tom Maston) his compatriot should snub a Premier League return if it meant taking a cut in minutes:
"Dortmund is a great club with great fans, they trust their young players and you can see that in Sancho and the progress he has made in the last 12 months.
"Now Jadon has to ask himself whether he would get the playing time he gets in Dortmund when he moves to England, or would he just sit on the bench?
"Playing time is so important for a young player like Jadon, so if he gets the most playing time in Dortmund, he should stay there."
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Now a growing presence in Gareth Southgate's England squad and an integral member at the Westfalenstadion, Sancho has thrived in the senior responsibilities afforded to him by Dortmund:
Rooney, 33, is honest in his assessment, which hints at the genuine concern he holds for his countryman and one going through a similar experience to him as a young English sensation.
The all-time top scorer for United (253 goals) and England (53) was only 16 when he first broke onto the scene at Everton. Rooney joined the Red Devils at 18 and is currently enjoying his second campaign with D.C. United in Major League Soccer.
Many at Old Trafford would likely welcome Sancho, with Alexis Sanchez having struggled to impress and other makeshift wingers not up to the same standard as the Dortmund technician.
Sancho sat among elite company last season in terms of goal production among youngsters, per Statman Dave:
Dortmund chief executive officer Hans-Joachim Watzke also recently ruled out a Sancho sale this summer and told Bild (h/t Richard Fay of the Manchester Evening News): "It can be assumed that Jadon will not play more than ten years at BVB. But we have clear agreements about the present. Jadon is not on the market and plays next season guaranteed at Borussia Dortmund."
Watzke's comments acknowledge that a transfer away will likely come in future, but Dortmund appear certain that won't be in 2019.
BVB have signed several promising attacking recruits in Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard this summer, while Paco Alcacer has also arrived permanently to form a new-look front line, via DW Sports:
Rooney may be aiding United in the long run considering Sancho could be closer to the finished article when a move becomes more realistic, but his allegiances are clearly to the player first and his old club after that.