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Jude Bellingham lights up England's World Cup Campaign
The Stourbridge man was the Three Lions' stand out performer across the 5 games and he is showing the potential to be leader of the pack.
As England bow out at the quarter final stages of Qatar 2022, questions will be asked if Southgate is the right man for the job, rightly or wrongly. Whilst there are compelling arguments for both sides, another opinion on the matter isn’t really necessary, so I’ll avoid it.
It was a tournament that never really seemed to get started for England, we fell at the first hurdle coming up against a top level side. One of the few bright sparks were the performances of Jude Bellingham.
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After he started the first game against Iran, there was no looking back for the West Midlands lad. He bagged his first senior international goal to put England 1-0 and looked as comfortable as a player with 10 years more experience.
It’s not like the media have missed it either. Before every England game there was another VT about Bellingham, talking to his coaches from Stourbridge and the Birmingham City academy. Every one of them saying he was always mature beyond his years and he had the talent to go to the very top.
Every time he was interviewed, as part of the press rounds before a game or post match, he spoke with confidence and intelligence, something rarely seen in English footballers of any age let alone 19 year olds. It’s enough to make you wonder if he’s from Stourbridge at all.
As the tournament drew on, Bellingham seemed to grow into his role at the heart of the Three Lions’ midfield, feeding off the buzz and anticipation. Not allowing himself to be fazed by the occasion or opponent.
His move to Dortmund a few years ago has worked wonders for him. You won’t meet a fan in the Yellow Wall with a bad word to say about Jude. Eyebrows were raised when he chose the Bundesliga over more lucrative offers from the Premier League. You’d have to say he has probably been able to focus more on his game in Germany. In England we have a knack for shooting down our best and brightest before they’ve even took flight.
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It was his performance against France though that gives me the most confidence. From minute one he didn’t stop, chasing every ball and seeking out any half chance. He was unfortunate not to put England into the lead just after half time with a lovely strike from the edge of the area. Every time the referee gave a foul against him for a 50/50 challenge you could see how much it frustrated him. You could see what it meant.
Nothing was as telling however than when Kane missed the second penalty. The first player to him was Bellingham. Telling him not to worry and focus on what’s left of the game. A 19 year old lad showing the leadership qualities England have lacked for years.
Regardless of what happens to Southgate, one thing is for sure, in 2 years’ time at the Euros Jude Bellingham has to be England captain.
Written by Tomas Browne
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