Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel has said that he and other senior players had to have words with English talent Jadon Sancho after he was late for training.
Sancho’s electric performances in the Bundesliga have seen him shoot to fame and break into the England squad this season.
Yet Belgian veteran Witsel, 30, admitted that he and others such as Marco Reus and Marcel Schmelzer have made sure that the 19-year-old does not get too big for his boots.
“There was a time when he didn’t really take care to turn up to training on time,” Witsel told Bild newspaper on Saturday. “We had to have words with him.”
Witsel also lavished praise on Sancho, saying that he was a “special” player, and that his attitude had improved during the season.
“He seems to have listened to us, because he has got much better,” said the Belgian international.
“Jadon has enormous quality, and he can always make the difference with his tricks and his dribbling.”
Witsel compared Sancho to his Belgium teammate Eden Hazard, and said that the English youngster had the potential to become a global star.
The well-travelled 30-year-old, who has brought some much-needed stability to Dortmund’s midfield since joining from Chinese club Tianjin Tianhai at the beginning of the season, also insisted that his team can still win the Bundesliga title.
Dortmund currently sit a point behind league leaders Bayern Munich with four games to play, the first of which is Saturday’s derby at home to Schalke.
“Everything is possible. We have a tough run-in, but so do Bayern. Right now, we are not looking beyond the derby,” said Witsel.