The Bundesliga returned to action last weekend and Jadon Sancho’s Borussia Dortmund thrashed rivals Schalke 4-0, like they’d never been away.
German football is being followed by more English fans than ever right now, owing to the prolonged period without any of the beautiful game at elite level to watch.
For many, that means picking a Bundesliga club at random to support and enjoying the game they love being back on our screens.
But for Sancho, it may mean a level of scrutiny on his performances he hasn’t experienced since swapping Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund in 2017.
The focus of English attention?
When Premier League players become England internationals, the level of scrutiny on their performances ramps up a notch.
Any poor performance – especially during a live televised game – will generally be accompanied by an unsympathetic appraisal of an Englishman’s quality in relation to his spot in the national side.
Not many English players do what Sancho has done and test themselves abroad. One of his rewards is not playing his football under that harsh scrutiny from his own country’s fans.
At present, clips of Sancho go viral when he does something good, but his performances over 90 minutes are not being watched by too many England fans week in, week out.
That must be helpful for his development, but now a host of English fans may well be turning their attention to the Bundesliga, with every single match available live on BT Sport.
Sancho may well be the focus of English attention, and he could find his displays under a whole new level of scrutiny.
Benched against Schalke
Against that backdrop, many English fans may have been surprised to see Sancho left on the bench for Dortmund’s win over Schalke.
Lucien Favre has a host of attacking talent at his disposal and the 4-0 win indicates he got his team selection spot-on.
Of course it’s a unique situation and Sancho’s absence from the starting 11 may well have been to do with fitness, coming off the back of a long break.
This may well be the first time many English fans are watching Sancho week in and week out.
He has the quality to dazzle this new audience with his performances, but he may also need to be prepared for the heightened criticism his international team-mates plying their trade in the Premier League are often subjected to.
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