Jadon Sancho is the man everyone’s talking about this summer, whether it’s regarding a potential big money move back to the Premier League or his first-ever signature collection, which Nike have just bestowed upon him at the tender age of just 20. And we took the opportunity to speak with him about exactly these things, along with his England career and his interests off the pitch.

Not many people get the honour of being given their own signature collection. But then again not many people can boast the type of stats that Jadon Sancho can either. Stats like 19 goals and 18 assists in 32 appearances across the Bundesliga and Champions League this season. His star is certainly rising high, but to his credit, he remains down to Earth, as we found out when we chatted with him about life, England, the future, and his signature collection, among many other things.

Let’s talk about life right now...You made the most of the small downtime you got, how has that re-charged you for the season?

Yeah it was really nice. Obviously I was with my family and friends and I just enjoyed the break and being with them because I hardly get to see them. It was nice to just relax and take my feet off things. I’m happy to be back playing now though, I was missing it towards the end of my second week off

You still get itchy feet when you’re not playing and just want to get out there then?

Yeah definitely, you just want to be out there playing all the time. I’m happy to be back playing. 

When you take that time out, it’s got to feel good to look at where you are and be proud of what you’ve achieved. Do you ever reflect like that?

Yeah I do, of course but I’d say it hits me most when I see family and see my mum and people like that. They’re so happy for me and it’s nice to see my family being so proud of me. I do everything for them and I just want to keep making them proud. I do look at how far we’ve come and the things I’m doing and have those moments when it hits me and it’s like, “wow”. Coming from nothing to being on a boat like I was, with everyone like my family and close friends, it’s a nice feeling and a nice moment to share because it’s not an everyday thing. My family members couldn’t afford things like that and it’s nice to give to them experiences like that to show them how much I love them and I appreciate them. 

You're a big sneaker fan. Did you add anything fresh to the wardrobe during lockdown?

To be fair, I didn’t. The biggest thing for me during lockdown was just watching my diet. For me, I like to get carried away a bit but I just used it as time to relax. I was pretty much just on the Playstation every day. I had so many tournaments with my friends and that’s what kept us busy throughout the whole pandemic.

There’s been so much talk, so much noise – how much do you like watching people speculate?

I try not to look at the media because I think once you start looking at all that it would be easy to get carried away with it. It can affect players. For me it’s about not looking at those things and just focusing on trying to do the best I can on the pitch. Especially in training. For me it’s about improving every single day. It’s important for me to keep a smile on my face and keep happy. I don’t really look at all the noise and all that stuff. I’d rather keep my head down, keep focus and improve every day.

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I try not to look at the media because I think once you start looking at all that it would be easy to get carried away with it. It can affect players"

It’s a sign of how far you’ve come to basically have the world talking about you. What’s the last few months been like for you?

Yeah it’s been interesting but I’m cool. Again, the pandemic was a weird stage in football. No fans allowed in the stadium and things like that were strange. So it was a weird one for so many reasons but I enjoyed it once I got on the pitch. It didn’t phase me that there wasn’t any fans. I just tried to do my best and I actually scored my first professional hat-trick and there were no fans in the stadium [laughs]. In that sense I didn’t mind it without fans. Some people may say it means there’s less pressure. I’m not using that as an excuse though. I’m looking forward to fans coming back.

As a striker, if the goals keep coming you’ll keep taking them fans or no fans wouldn’t you?

Of course, of course.

How gutted were you that the Euros were pushed back or did you see it as an opportunity now to cement your place in the England squad?

Nah I was gutted. Obviously I’ve been doing my thing this season and I was ready to go. I don’t mind it being pushed back though. I feel like the England squad has a lot of players who are interesting at the moment. It’s going to be interesting to see who makes the squad. The players we have now are great and the young players that are coming up now like Bukayo Saka, Mason Greenwood – these guys are talented. It’s interesting to see what they’re doing week in, week out. They’re doing a madness so it’s going to be a very tough decision for Gareth Southgate to make. Again it’s healthy competition and you’ve just got to do your thing and everyone is going to be doing their best. It’s exciting to see.

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This is the start of something big hopefully. I think it’s a great way to show people, especially the kids from my area that if you believe in yourself, you can actually do things like I am doing"

There’s so much young talent in that England squad when we look to the Euros. What would you say England has that no one else in the world has?

The first point – everyone is young so everyone has got a lot of time to develop and improve as they get older. I think the fresh legs of us is big. For me, when I’ve played for England, it’s that extra boost. When you play for your country and your young, you want to do more. When you get the ball you want to make the fans excited - it’s that little buzz that the youngsters have at the moment. When they get on the ball, they want to do something for the fans and show them what they have. You know how football works; if you play one day and you don’t play as well you did previously, you might get dropped so I feel like everyone is showing what they got and really taking each moment. There’s a lot of flair in our squad.

Speaking of how far you’ve come – having a signature collection is a strong statement. What was your reaction when you saw the boot?

This is the start of something big hopefully. I think it’s a great way to show people, especially from my area because it says ‘Poppin out of Kennington’ on there. It shows the young kids that if you believe in yourself, you can actually do things like I am doing. I’m just so happy and grateful that I have the opportunity to work with Nike and create my own boot. I think it’s going to be a great collection and I think it’s going to have a buzz around London.

How much input did you have in the design and what you wanted on there?

It obviously says “Poppin out of Kennington” which is my area. It has a “No Ball Games” sign on the other boot. That all comes from my estate. We used to play football on the estate so much and some people used to break windows with their wonky foot [laughs]. The neighbours used to complain so the council put up this sign saying “No Ball Games”. No one listened because football was everything for us, especially back then. “No Ball Games” was a sign that I thought would pop on the boot.

Over the top of that it says “Megz”. Me and my friends used to just have competitions around who could do the naughtiest skill and for me, it was all about Megz. Nutmegging people and making people laugh was the vibe back then. The Sancho sauce… I’m collaborating with Nandos and I like that reference, that all made sense to me. Also it says ‘Vibez’ on there...you know when you play football with your friends on the estate, it’s just a vibe. So I just tried to put everything into this boot and I think it’s sick.

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...those No Ball Games Signs. If people listened to them, we wouldn’t have a Jadon Sancho…

[laughs] Nah. I mean obviously you’d probably just go to the park if we couldn’t play where we did but it was just quick to just go outside and play football. For us it was just a quicker way than going out of your way and travelling somewhere to go to a park just to play at the estate.

Talk to us about representing Kennington with your footwear. That place will always be special to you won’t it? It’s going to be special to take that place with you across the world on your boots…

Yeah especially for the people who have grown up or who are growing up in Kennington. There’s a lot of talented people in Kennington and a lot of people who grow up to me. It’s a message to...I wouldn’t limit it to South London because that’s where I’m from...I’d say it’s a message to all kids that are living in London, to show them that anything is possible if you believe. It’s a great way to start things. Hopefully, if this boot does well, I can progress and do many great things.

Fast forward to now. How did you get to where you have?

Leaving home from young has helped me mature than others my age. I’ve adapted to circumstances very differently to other people. I would say that when I first left home it was very difficult. The first year or so, I was doing a madness - I just wanted to go back home and all that. After a while, I started to realise that you actually have got to make sacrifices in order to progress in football. Once I learnt that, it was just from there that I found it easy to adapt to new situations in my life.

Cr7, Mbappe, Neymar – not many players get a signature release. How do you feel to be alongside those players?

It feels great, again, you can tell that their performances on the pitch on and off the pitch have helped them get to where they have. I played against Mbappe in the Champions League and I spoke to him after the game. We had a little conversation after the game, he said to me “you’re doing really well, keep it up and you’ll get far”. It was nice to have that conversation with him. Especially Mbappe, he’s done a lot when you consider his age. He’s won the World Cup, he’s won the league with PSG and Monaco and so you have to respect him in so many ways. He kind of carried France in the World Cup which was crazy. Seeing someone that young doing great things like that, it motivates me and was crazy to see.

Obviously with Ronaldo, you know, what a great guy. He’s had a fantastic career. He’s had to mature as much as me. The way he left home at a young age and couldn’t speak English at the time, he’s adapted really well – look where he is now – one of the best players who has ever lived. So to be alongside these people, hopefully I can have a great career like Ronaldo.

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I played against Mbappe in the Champions League and I spoke to him after the game. He said to me 'you’re doing really well, keep it up and you’ll get far'. It was nice to have that conversation with him"

Mbappe and Neymar were both older than you when they were given signature boots - how does that make you feel? You gotta feel good when you hear that?

It feels good, definitely. It feels like I’m doing my thing and they’re respecting me in a way that shows me that they are going to keep doing things for me if I keep producing on the pitch. That’s how it should be. I have a great relationship with Nike and hopefully it continues for years to come. I’m just grateful and honoured to release a boot with them.

Michael Jordan only signed for Nike when he was 21. Look at the Jordan brand now. Do you ever think about how much you could achieve beyond what you already have?

I feel like he changed the game for Nike. A lot of NBA players were all going to adidas back then and it was him saying “I don’t want to be like the rest” and Nike approaching him that changed everything. The way he said to them, “if I’m coming to you then I’m going to make my own thing” that really popped. Look where Jordan is now. It’s doing a madness - every Jordan that drops is probably sold out. It's a great trainer. Them two together, it made so much sense. It wasn’t forced - Nike knew what they were doing.

What’s your Jordan collection like these days? How fresh do you like to keep them?

They have to be clean. I’m a sneaker freak so I like my trainers clean. They have to stay tidy at all times.

When we’re talking about Jordan and achievements that you are aiming for...Ballon D’or Do you think you’d be gutted if you didn’t achieve that in your career?

Obviously every young kid growing up, that’s something they’re looking at. For me though, if I win a couple, then I’ll feel like I’ve achieved what I wanted to do in this life. Obviously there’s other great goals I want to accomplish like winning the World Cup, the Champions League and all these other great things but yeah, Ballon D’or is just like… there’s so many players in the world and to win that you would have been selected to be the best of the best. That feeling… Obviously I haven’t been in that situation so I don’t know what it’s like but looking at other people's reactions when they’ve won it - it’s an emotional moment. I just have to keep on working on myself to get there.

That confidence is incredible. You’ve risen my question by saying I don’t want one but I want two…

Yeah with one, people could say it’s a fluke. With two, it would just say, “Ok, he’s done his thing, he’s done his thing”.

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The players we have now are great and the young players that are coming up now like Bukayo Saka, Mason Greenwood – these guys are talented. It’s interesting to see what they’re doing week in, week out"

Back on the signature release. Does this feel like something you want to make a regular part of how you work with Nike?

Definitely. Obviously because there are so many younger kids that look up to me, I think that if I released a merch line or something, I think it would do really well. Especially if me and Nike put ideas together on what to release and things like that. I think we’d come up with a great idea that would pop.

We’ve seen Neymar and Jordan release a sneaker in the past. Would you like to explore and develop your own clothing collection too?

You know what I like at the moment? I like the collab with Cactus Jack and Nike. That there made so much sense it’s crazy. His merch is crazy, the trainer itself...it sold out every time they’ve released something. If you have those kinds of ideas and a catchy name, I think it will do crazy things.

OBJ is another athlete who releases so many signature boots a season. Would you like to go down that route so you’re always dropping new pieces?

For me, when and if I created more boots, I would like for it to have a meaning. If you drop too much, people would just say, “ah, that’s too much” but if you do it here and there, because they know already your boot was a madness from the first drop, everyone for the second drop is just going to be asking for it and wanting it. If you do too much it’s a bit corny. Keeping it here and there keeps it exclusive and it makes sense.

You’re switched on Jadon. You know about the hype…

[Laughs] Yeah, yeah, I do.

Going back to OBJ, if you could get on a zoom call with anyone in the world, who would it be and what would you say to them?

One person? Oooh. Anyone one in the world...There’s a lot of people that I look up to that I would love to have a conversation with. I would say, Lil Baby and Travis Scott from the music industry. Probably athlete-wise, Neymar, Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James… I’m not even trying to say Nike athletes, all those people are huge for me. I’ve met OBJ through a mutual friend who is really close with him. Messi would be another. Those players have so much respect from me.

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What’s 2020/21 going to be for you in one word?

For me… One word… BIG.

Shop the Nike x Sancho SE11 collection at prodirectsoccer.com from Monday 24 August.