When Jordan Henderson was ruled out of starting England’s Euro 2020 campaign, many believed that the answer to the hole left in the Three Lions’ midfield was a 17-year-old playing out in Germany.
Jude Bellingham had a season with German giants, Borussia Dortmund, under his belt beforehand. A season in which he accumulated 46 appearances for Die Schwarzgelben, including 33 starts. A young lad from Birmingham was slowly turning into a man.
When he was included in the squad for the summer tournament, it was a widespread opinion that the teenager was good enough to partner Declan Rice in the centre of midfield and would be able to offer a box-to-box threat which would be a great benefit for the team.
However, even though Bellingham had impressed in the matches building up to the tournament, Gareth Southgate chose to start Kalvin Phillips of Leeds United alongside Rice and no one can question the decision of the manager. The Premier League midfielder was a standout player in England’s run to the final and also was rewarded with England Men’s Player of the Year award earlier this month with a priceless reaction as his pivot partner surprised him with the prize.
Jude Bellingham managed to make three appearances from the bench in wins against Croatia, Czech Republic and Ukraine; but was limited to those three appearances across the competition. Which was okay. Everyone knew the teenage talent was massively talented, but after just one season of top flight football, and at his tender age, it was somewhat understandable that Southgate went for caution in relation to the Dortmund star’s minutes through the tournament.
However, it seems pretty clear that the now 18-year-old is becoming too good to ignore for his national side, and also his club side. The teenager has started every single match for his club so far this season and was Player of the Match in their opening Champions League fixture this season.
A goal and assist for Bellingham in a 2-1 win against Besiktas JK saw the teenager receive major praise for his performance on the continent. It’s not the first time either, with the Englishman putting in some great Champions League showings last campaign, including two super performances against Manchester City in the quarter-finals.
Currently sitting on two goals and four assists in just eight matches, Bellingham is just two goal contributions away from matching his tally for the entirity of last season. His game is developing at an incredible rate and this is going to be difficult for Southgate to ignore.
The World Cup is next year and with Bellingham’s game already so well-tuned, you can only imagine how impressive the 18-year-old will be by the time the tournament comes around.
England’s pivot was so impressive in their Euro 2020 run, however, this young man will bring a dynamism and quality that almost no other players in Europe can offer. He’s a special player and will not be ignored.