JADON SANCHO did not need long to convince his youth football coach he was destined for the top.
Back then in 2012, before he became Europe’s most exciting prospect at Borussia Dortmund and forced his way into the England squad, Sancho was learning the game in South London.
Alan Cozzi11 Jadon Sancho's unmistakable talent was on show from an early age
11 Sancho, far right next to Reiss Nelson, learned the game in South London
Sayce Holmes-Lewis was a community coach for Southwark Council, trained Sancho in a team of South London’s most talented kids and grew close with the then 12-year-old and his father, Sean.
The Sanchos would go and watch Holmes-Lewis play for Lewisham Borough, who recalled: “Jadon had this little afro, was always smiling. There was always banter between me and him.
“I’d say, ‘I bet you can’t do this skill’. I’d show him and by the end of the session he’d got it. It was embarrassing for me because I was almost 30 at the time, had worked on these skills all summer and it took him an hour to master!
“Jadon was always trying to prove how good he was but in a humble way.”
Twitter @Sanchooo1011 Jadon Sancho pens a deal with Man City in 2015 after leaving the Watford Academy
Getty Images – Getty11 The youngster's rise through the ranks has been remarkable
11 Jadon Sancho, second from right, stands next to his old coach Sayce Homes-Lewis
Sancho, 18, has certainly proved how good he is with five goals and seven assists in the Bundesliga this season, demanding the attention of Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate — and vindicating his decision to leave Manchester City last summer.
Those who witnessed Sancho on his journey from confident kid to one of the Bundesliga’s best, describe him as an affable boy with bags of ability.
Yet there is one trait that stands out — an unyielding determination to succeed.
Louis Lancaster, who coached Sancho in Watford’s academy, said: “There’s a great phrase in football that goes, ‘Prepare the player for the pathway’ because it doesn’t change. Jadon scrapped that rule. For him, it was preparing the pathway for the player.