'He didn't want to be here' – Guardiola doubts Sancho return to Manchester City
Having seen the youngster leave for Borussia Dortmund, the man in charge at the Etihad Stadium does not expect an England new boy to retrace his steps
Pep Guardiola does not envisage Jadon Sancho returning to Manchester City, but conceded a move back to his old club could not be ruled out.
The exciting winger made his England debut during the international break after making a flying start to the season for Borussia Dortmund.
Sancho has provided six assists and one goal for the Bundesliga leaders despite only one of his seven league appearances coming as part of the starting line-up.
The teenager has received praise in some quarters for opting to take the risk of continuing his development outside of England after deciding his chances of breaking into the first-team at City would be limited.
Guardiola was asked ahead of City’s Premier League clash against Burnley if Sancho would ever return to the Etihad Stadium and, while not fully discounting such a scenario, he pointed to the fact Sancho did not appear content at the club.
“I don’t know, in football you never say no, but I don’t know. I think when he decided to move on from here it is because he doesn’t want to be here,” he said.
“When he doesn’t want to be here, I think he’s not looking forward to coming back here. That is what I think right now.
“Maybe in the future – new club, new managers – but I don’t know.”
Sancho is one of a cluster of young English players to have tried their hand in the Bundesliga over the past couple of seasons and reports suggest his fledgling success could lead to a future wave of youngsters heading to Germany.
City youngster Phil Foden is among those to have been tipped to follow Sancho’s path, but Guardiola believes such trends in football are common.
“English teams look at Spanish players and Spanish teams look at Italian players. You cannot control them at that age,” he added.
“We know what we have done with Jadon. We did absolutely everything, he decided to move to Germany. All the best. He is doing really well at the start of his career, hopefully he can achieve what he is looking for and it is a good sign for England. I’m glad he’s playing well.”
One of the reasons Sancho may have felt his first-team path was blocked is due to the domestic form of new England team-mate Raheem Sterling.
Sterling scored twice in England’s surprise 3-2 Nations League win in Spain, strikes that ended a three-year wait to add to his international tally.
It was welcome relief for Sterling, who faced criticism in some quarters over his performances at the World Cup, but Guardiola – while acknowledging a “stronger mentality” – thinks little has changed because of his brace.
“Because he scored in one game two goals? The criticism when he played in England is for one or two years. [There is] no change because he scored two goals,” Guardiola said.
“His character and personality does not depend on scoring two goals. The most important thing – he knows – at 23 years old, he can still be better.
“His mentality is stronger than before from my point of view. He plays so good, so well in terms of movement – he creates room for Jesse Lingard, Dele Alli, Harry Kane et cetera.”