All-action Jude Bellingham showed he has the LOT in Dortmund’s defeat by Man City… having been their best player at the Etihad, the 17-year-old’s superb strike and goal-line clearance in Germany belied his tender age
- Jude Bellingham showed why he is one of the best youngsters in Europe
- His touch and finish to put Borussia Dortmund in front was exceptional
- And the 17-year-old also demonstrated his hunger for work in defence
- Bellingham was fast-tracked by England as a 13-year-old and you can see why
Jude Bellingham was 13 when the Football Association sat him down to map out his future. The kid from Stourbridge was to join England’s Under 15s early. Very few do that.
Two years younger than some contemporaries, England ignored his build and just wanted him to play. The message was not to worry about making mistakes or struggling physically.
The national team saw the midfielder had something a little different and wanted him in the system as quickly as possible. That decision has not gone too badly so far – and he is already starring on the biggest stage.
Jude Bellingham scored a sensational opener for Borussia Dortmund against Manchester City
The 17-year-old showcased exactly why he is one of the brightest young stars in Europe
The startling aspect of Bellingham’s sharp rise is that the conversation with England’s development coaches at St George’s Park alongside his family was not that long ago.
Still only 17 and a full international. A Champions League regular. He was Borussia Dortmund’s best player at the Etihad Stadium in the first leg and the strike on Wednesday night belied his tender age.
So calm inside the Manchester City box. Unflustered by markers, a quick shuffle of the feet. As if nobody else mattered, he guided towards Ederson’s top corner and it looked all so natural. You would not have known it was his first goal in Europe – the youngest Englishman ever to net in the competition. Maybe nobody told him the magnitude of this fixture.
Dortmund’s interim coach, Edin Terzic, has had no qualms in continuing to start him over the past two months, on Wednesday night his seventh in succession. The only slight surprise is that Bellingham’s performances have not dipped. ‘He’s prepared himself for this,’ Terzic said. ‘It’s special for a boy of 17 to play every three days.’
His peach of a strike was too hot for Ederson to handle and he palmed it into the net
Bellingham has some snarl without the ball to combine with his class on it
The most impressive aspect of all this is the position he plays. Plenty of teenagers can flourish in wide areas, or up front, but there is no hiding place when plonked in the middle of midfield. Not content with giving his team the lead, Bellingham made a crucial intervention at the other end, a goal-saving clearance off the line when Riyad Mahrez looked certain to equalise.
The block, met with a celebratory punch after completion, was just as intelligent as the goal from a positional sense. Here is an all-action midfielder, more than capable of affecting proceedings in either box.
Smart on the ball, niggly off it, happy to mix it physically, covers an incredible amount of ground: Bellingham has the lot. No wonder Birmingham City retired his number.
Bellingham showed that he has everything in his locker and the world is his oyster