Jadon Sancho has come to be viewed as the poster-boy for young English players moving overseas in search of regular first team football. Sancho became one of the first England youth international to move outside the UK in search of regular game time when he moved to Borussia Dortmund in 2017. Not only he impressed in Dortmund’s first team, he appeared regularly in the Champions League and subsequently made his England debut later that year.
Following Sancho’s footsteps, his former England youth teammate, Jonathan Panzo joined Ligue 1 outfit AS Monaco from Chelsea in the summer of 2018. The highly-rated full-back was regarded as one of the hottest defensive prospects at Chelsea. Born in Brockley, south London to Ivorian parents, Jonathan Panzo was a member of England’s Under-17 side that beat Spain in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup final.
The Englishman is an offensive modern-day left-back who is known in particular for his pace, stamina, overlapping attacking runs, and defensive positioning. He is also gifted with good crossing accuracy and distribution, which allows him to link up with his teammates in attack. Despite not being physically imposing, he possesses significant strength and tenacity, which along with his energy, anticipation and work-rate, enables him to intercept passes or chase down and press opponents when not in possession, thus allowing him to aid his team both offensively and defensively.
The youngster who also captained the England U-19s in the recently concluded Euro U19 joined Chelsea at the age of nine and won five trophies in his final season in London – including the club’s fifth successive FA Youth Cup. He wanted to test himself at the highest level to further his development which led to his departure from his boyhood club. Panzo made the switch from his boyhood club to Monaco, joining the increasingly growing list of young Englishmen leaving the Premier League’s youth set-ups to find opportunities in mainland Europe.
After sealing his move to France, Panzo made his Monaco debut for their reserve team in the Championnat National 2 (the fourth tier of French football). Following a string of strong performances in the UEFA Youth League where the 18-year-old played every minute of Monaco’s campaign, he was called into the senior squad by then manager Thierry Henry for their Coup de la Ligue tie against FC Lorient. He made his Monaco debut on 19 December 2018, when he started at left-back and played the full 90-minutes in the 1-0 win.
Though Monaco endured a tough season and Panzo didn’t get many chances in the first team, he certainly learned a lot from the experience. The England U-19 international will continue his development at the club that has nurtured the likes of Thierry Henry, Kylian Mbappe, Yannick Carrasco and Emmanuel Petit in its youth ranks.