Phil Foden heaped praise on Jadon Sancho for the way the England star embraced the pressure of first-team football at such a young age with Borussia Dortmund.
Sancho left Manchester City for the Bundesliga in 2017, making his debut for Dortmund at the age of 17 following a move prompted in part by fears over a lack of opportunities at the Etihad Stadium.
Foden himself may have harboured similar worries and there has often been talk of a loan switch for the midfielder, but he is steadily asserting himself under Pep Guardiola, who has always talked of the youngster in glowing terms.
Although Foden appears firmly in his manager’s plans, he was impressed by Sancho’s bold decision to move overseas, with the pair now reunited in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
1989 – @Sanchooo10 is the first English player to score a hat-trick in one of the other top five European leagues since Brian Stein for Caen against Cannes in Ligue 1 – exactly 31 years ago today (31/05/1989). Remarkable. pic.twitter.com/JPlOApimOp
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 31, 2020
“I definitely watched Jadon when he went to Dortmund,” said the 20-year-old, who will hope to make his senior international bow against Iceland or Denmark in the Nations League.
“There’s not many young players that could’ve played at that level. I was very impressed.
“It seems every year younger players are playing more big games. It’s good to see young players getting debuts.
“It just shows the academies have got great coaches, teaching them the right things and they’re getting opportunities in the first team.”
Foden underlined some of the challenges he has faced in his development, with his diminutive stature creating some difficulties, although he will have seen first-hand how the likes of David Silva and Bernardo Silva make light of that supposed disadvantage.
“When I was a younger age at the academy, I was a lot smaller,” he explained. “I had to use my brain more.
“Eventually I started growing, made the step up to the first team. I had to adapt quickly. I’ve definitely tried to get in the gym much more now, get bigger, stronger. Adapting to the physical side was the most challenging thing.
“As I trained, I started to get better, moving the ball quicker, learning quicker.
“I’m still young. If I feel as though a player is reading me, I feel as though I’m very good at adapting my game style.
“It’s nothing that I’ll fear. I’ll look forward to the challenge.”
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