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‘It is Sancho that Germany would fear – if he plays’ – Klinsmann surprised by England’s snub of ‘special talent’

A man who helped Germany past England en route to Euro 96 glory expects the Borussia Dortmund star to figure at Wembley on Tuesday

Jadon Sancho has seen just six minutes of action for England at Euro 2020, but it is the Borussia Dortmund winger that Jurgen Klinsmann says “Germany would fear – if he plays” in Tuesday’s heavyweight last-16 showdown at Wembley.

Gareth Southgate favoured alternative options in a lacklustre group-stage showing from the Three Lions, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford getting the nod in wide attacking berths.

That is despite Sancho boasting more goal involvements at club level across the last three seasons than all but one of his current colleagues in a 26-man squad.

What has been said?

The 21-year-old could play a more prominent role against a number of familiar faces in knockout competition, with Euro 96 winner Klinsmann telling BBC Sport of the obvious threat posed: “It is Sancho that Germany would fear at Wembley – if he plays. They know how good he is.

“What makes him such a special talent is his technical capability at a very fast pace, and he is fearless – he just goes at people. I love watching him because, when he gets the ball, he excites the fans.

“Of course people who watch him for Dortmund expected him to get more of a chance at this tournament – he has had only six minutes of action so far, as a substitute against the Czech Republic – but the same discussion you are having about fitting England’s young talent in your team, we are having about Germany’s emerging players too.

“We have Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Jamal Musiala but, like England manager Gareth Southgate, Joachim Low has the choice of five or six players but only maybe three roles to give away since he brought back Thomas Muller, who is a fixture in that team.

“The interesting thing about all of these youngsters is their power to surprise – they have so much ability and can decide a game at any given time, but they can also be inconsistent.

“So, do you go with exciting young faces, or the tried and tested ones? Both managers have got some very similar decisions to make.”

The bigger picture


England and Germany boast plenty of history at major international tournaments, with penalty shootouts figuring prominently in that, but Klinsmann cannot see the past influencing the present for exciting young squads in 2021.

The legendary former striker added: “Whoever plays at Wembley, I don’t think the past meetings between the two sides will have any bearing on the outcome.

“Of course, for the fans that are a bit older and the generation of players like myself who were in those big games like in 1990 or 1996, we look at it a bit in the context of history – the games we played in or watched.

“But the younger generation will not do that at all. There have been no big clashes between England and Germany at tournaments in the recent past – it is 11 years since the 2010 World Cup and Muller is the only player left on either side who played in that game.

“So, don’t ask the players that play this game on Tuesday what their kind of feeling is for our wins at the 1990 World Cup or 1996 European Championship is, because they didn’t live through that.

“Most of these current England and Germany players were not even born in 1996, especially the young attackers I have just been talking about.

“There is a lot of football history between these two nations, but not between these two teams – it is a completely new set of cards that is put on the table this time, and at a new stadium.”

Further reading

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