Jadon Sancho revealed it was special to play alongside “role model” Raheem Sterling after shining on his first competitive England start.
The pair’s paths crossed at Manchester City, where Sancho emerged as a promising youngster before opting for a move to the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund.
He has flourished this season and now appears to be a permanent fixture in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
The 18-year-old laid on the first of Sterling’s three goals in an impressive 5-0 thrashing of the Czech Republic as the Three Lions began their Euro 2020 qualification campaign in style.
Sancho, who celebrates his birthday on Monday when England face Montenegro in Podgorica, was delighted to earn a start at Wembley and even more pleased to share the pitch with someone he sees as an inspiration.
“He is a great player, as you can see on and off the pitch,” Sancho told beIN Sports when asked about Sterling.
“He is a humble guy and I am just so delighted I am sharing the pitch with him and obviously I look up to him as a role model and especially starting with him was a great feeling.
“It was a great match for us, a great start obviously with a 5-0 win at home and it is a special feeling, especially getting my first competitive start for England in front of my family and I’m sure they will be proud of me.”
Sancho could have capped the night with a goal of his own, but fluffed his lines when picked out by Harry Kane, who had earlier put England two goals ahead with a first-half penalty won by Sterling.
He revealed what Sterling said to him as they left the pitch following the comfortable win and how he and fellow 18-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi have been made to feel welcome in the squad.
“He just asked how did I miss that chance at the end!” Sancho said of his post-match chat with Sterling.
“It was unfortunate. It is very competitive. We have to take every game at 100 per cent. We did that and now we are going to take that to Montenegro and hopefully get the three points there.
He added: “When I am in training the boys just make me feel comfortable.”
“Obviously with me and Callum being the two young boys in the camp, the other boys have comforted us and made us feel welcome and that has really helped us feel confident and keep playing well.”