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21st Nov 2022

Jude Bellingham is no longer England’s hot prospect, he’s their star man

Callum Boyle

Jude Bellingham England

Bellingham delivered another man-of-the-match display

When the last World Cup took place four and a half years ago, Jude Bellingham was 14. Now at the age of 19, he has announced himself on the biggest stage of them all.

Bellingham’s talents have been well documented ever since he made his senior professional debut as a 16-year-old. Since then, he has gone on to establish himself as one of the best midfielders in the world at Borussia Dortmund and now with England.

It’s at the stage now where it’s inconceivable to think of Gareth Southgate not picking him in the starting XI and this tournament is proving that

His goal opened the floodgates for the Three Lions in their 6-2 win against Iran as he wandered into the box with ease before glancing a looping header out of the ‘keeper’s reach and into the top right corner of the goal.

Fast forward to the round of 16, a time for players to step up and make a name for themselves, it was Bellingham who did so.

Senegal had given the Three Lions their biggest test of the World Cup so far however it was the youngster who took matters into his own hands to turn the tide.

His assist laid the ball on a plate for Jordan Henderson to open the scoring – against the run of play – before a lung-bursting run to intercept the ball and drive England forward before threading the ball in front of Phil Foden, who provided for Harry Kane to double England’s lead.

For a player so young his talent and maturity on the pitch goes way beyond his years. He plays like someone who has been in the game for 10 years, not a youngster who theoretically should still be adjusting to the demands of senior football.

Southgate is lucky to have someone like him, he has the full package. From the nitty-gritty, dirty work in the middle of the park to retrieve possession to his exemplary vision and ability to find anyone anywhere on the pitch.

At such a young age too, he’s not afraid to tell his older, more experienced pros what he wants. Bellingham is there screaming for the ball, pointing and directing players into position. He ticks all the boxes to be a future captain.

Bellingham will likely have tougher games to contend with in this tournament but as with any World Cup, the first game is always no mean feat.

Once again he was put to the test and yet again he passed with flying colours. Bellingham should no longer be touted as one to watch the future, he is the present and by God, do England have one hell of a player on their hands.