Now that his tardiness has cost him £86,000, you’d imagine Jadon Sancho will invest a few quid in a decent clock.
That was the enormous fine handed to the 19-year-old England winger by his club Borussia Dortmund as punishment for reporting back late from international duty last week.
Sancho was also dropped from the Dortmund squad that faced Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga on Saturday afternoon as manager Lucien Favre acted decisively to maintain discipline.
Jadon Sancho paid a heavy price after returning late to Borussia Dortmund duty last week
Sancho came off the bench late in England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria in Sofia
Under club rules, Dortmund players must report back for training after international duty at least 48 hours before their next match.
Given the home fixture with league leaders Monchengladbach, which Dortmund won 1-0, was a 6.30pm local time kick-off, Sancho was supposed to report back to them by Thursday night.
Seeing as England played the second of last week’s Euro 2020 qualifiers away to Bulgaria on Monday night, that surely would have given the player plenty of time to get home. But reports in Germany suggest that Sancho was 24 hours late.
The England squad flew back from Sofia straight after the 6-0 win, which saw Sancho replaced Raheem Sterling for the final 17 minutes, and landed at Birmingham Airport at 4am.
It is then believed Sancho jumped into a waiting car bound for London to spend some time with his family.
The 19-year-old visited family in London after returning with the England squad from Bulgaria
Sancho then reportedly returned to his club Borussia Dortmund 24 hours late
However, for whatever reason, the youngster didn’t get back to Germany in good enough time and was hit by a triple whammy punishment.
Not only was Sancho fined and dropped from Saturday’s squad, he was forced to report for an hour of individual training on Saturday morning.
According to German newspaper Bild, this involved jogging ‘for about an hour in the pouring rain with an athletic trainer’.
Dortmund initially tried to keep the matter internalised but news of his axing from the squad inevitably got out into the media on Thursday.
‘The expectations of Jadon are enormous, but that is dangerous,’ said Favre in his press conference previewing Saturday’s game.
‘Jadon is a great player, no discussions, but he still has a lot to learn.’
Dortmund manager Lucien Favre punished Sancho by dropping him from his squad
Dortmund defeated Borussia Monchengladbach 1-0 in Sancho’s absence on Saturday night
One of those things is, apparently, proper time-keeping because this certainly isn’t Sancho’s first offence.
Two seasons ago, then-Dortmund manager Peter Stoger demoted him to the under-23 team after reporting late for training on several occasions.
And in March 2018, he was cut from the England under-19 side by coach Paul Simpson for a European Championship qualifier against Latvia after arriving late for a session with his former Manchester City colleague Phil Foden.
There was then the nature of his departure from City in the summer of 2017, when he failed to report for several training sessions after being left out of Pep Guardiola’s pre-season tour squad.
Staff struggled to get hold of Sancho as he effectively went AWOL in what was perceived as an effort to force through a move away from the club.
That he got on August 31, when Dortmund paid City £8million to bring him to Germany, a decision Sancho certainly hasn’t regretted.
Sancho has enjoyed an excellent start to the season for Dortmund, scoring four goals so far
That good form has translated into an England shirt with Sancho scoring against Kosovo
Sancho’s salary is believed to be around £5.2million, but being hit in the pocket by such a hefty fine will surely hit home.
‘Jadon is a decent kid, I like him a lot, he’s still in a learning process and sometimes he’s testing limits, so you have to set limits,’ said Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc.
They German club have clearly become tired of Sancho pushing those limits.
His absence on Saturday didn’t cost Dortmund in the end, with Marco Reus scoring a 58th-minute winner, and it is expected Sancho will return for their Champions League fixture at Inter Milan on Wednesday.
But off-field mishaps such as this will come as a particular frustration for Dortmund because there isn’t anything about Sancho’s on-field performances at the moment that can be faulted.
Sancho is likely to attract interest from leading European clubs next summer
Having enjoyed a breakthrough campaign last season – scoring 13 goals, contributing 19 assists and earning his first England call-ups – Sancho has gone from strength to strength this term.
Four goals and seven assists in the first two months of the campaign have once again underlined his immense worth to Dortmund, while he is also of growing importance to Gareth Southgate and England.
This latest lapse in discipline also increases the prospect of this season being his last at Dortmund, though this owes more to strong interest from the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United.
19-year-olds who have 66 first-team appearances for a club like Dortmund, plus 10 England caps, are certainly hot properties.
But any suitors are likely to look closely not only at Sancho’s displays on the pitch but his character and discipline off it.
Failing to turn up on time for training certainly raises a red flag and it’s not something that happened once with the lesson quickly learnt.
It would be a real shame if one of England’s most gifted players for a generation lets himself down with something as basic as punctuality.