At 17 years and 136 days old, Jude Bellingham became the third youngest player in history to have ever played for the England national team at senior level. That the teenager made history by coming off the bench in the second half of the Three Lions’ friendly win over Republic of Ireland last week was reflective of his growing reputation in the game.
“I thought he was a little nervous at the start which is completely understandable,” Gareth Southgate said of the debutant (via the Evening Standard). “But you could see the longer he got in and the more touches he got the more confident he got.
“It was a special moment for him and his family. It was exactly what we hoped to be able to give him – some training with the team, experience of working with top professionals and then a small taste of the game which will be really good for his development.”
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Bellingham only made the £25 million move to Borussia Dortmund from Birmingham City in the summer, but he has already made a profound impact in Germany, starting six times over the early part of the 2020/21 season.
The youngster has wasted no time in forcing his way into Lucien Favre’s first team, following the example set for him by countryman Jadon Sancho in the Bundesliga.
Now, Bellingham has been linked with a move to Chelsea who see the 17-year-old as a possible alternative to Declan Rice (as per Eurosport ). Rice remains the Blues’ first choice, with Frank Lampard particularly keen on the 21-year-old, but West Ham United’s refusal to sell the midfielder for anything less than £70 million could force the Stamford Bridge club to look elsewhere.
Tactically, Bellingham could be a good fit for Lampard’s Chelsea. While it took the Blues boss some time to figure out how to fit all his summer signings into the same side, recent performances have been more balanced….