Gio Reyna says that Jadon Sancho has played a vital role in helping him adjust to Borussia Dortmund's first team, as the American teenager says that there's a reason that the English star is one of the best players in the Bundesliga.
Reyna made his breakthrough following the Bundesliga's winter break, joining Sancho and Erling Haaland as regulars in Dortmund's new-look attack.
The 17-year-old winger made a total of 18 appearances, scoring one goal while also recording an assist in Dortmund's Champions League clash with eventual finalists Paris Saint-Germain.
He has also started pre-season in fine form, scoring three goals in two matches thus far.
However, Dortmund have also started preseason at the centre of transfer talk, with Sancho heavily linked with a move to Manchester United.
Dortmund have declared that Sancho isn't leaving, having set a deadline for any potential departure that has long since passed. That will be good news for Reyna, who says that the England international has proven a valuable role model.
“Jadon also came to Dortmund as a teenager. He was 17, like me now, and he has made his way from a talented youth player to one of the top stars in the Bundesliga," Reyna told Sport Bild. "That is the goal of every player and of course mine too. Jadon helps me a lot by giving me lots of tips.
"He tells me to be confident and trust my strengths. He encourages me when things don't go well. After making mistakes, he doesn't doubt himself but just keeps going. Jadon is so good for a reason."
Reyna has had several other top role models throughout his career, including his parents, with father Claudio Reyna establishing himself as a U.S. men's national team legend while his mother Danielle Egan featured for the U.S. women's national team during her own career.
After his playing career ended, Claudio Reyna took charge of New York City FC as sporting director, but has since left to join Austin FC.
During his father's time at NYCFC, Gio Reyna emerged as one of the club's top academy prospects, earning him the chance to train with stars like David Villa, Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard.
The winger says it was Pirlo's ability to read the game that caught his eye most, as the Italian maestro made a real impact on the young Dortmund star.
“I learned from all three. Each of them was an absolute world-class player and won the Champions League at least once. Pirlo and Villa were also world champions," he said. “[Pirlo's] view of the game was amazing. Sometimes his movements look slow but are completely the opposite. He has the whole playing field in view and recognizes spaces that no one else sees.
"Pirlo is so clever, a visionary. One of the smartest players who have ever played. The passes he played were completely normal for him - they were incredible for everyone else."