Have you ever wondered who is that kid playing in the black and yellow jersey of Die Borussen?
If you have been living under a rock for the last year or so, here’s what you need to know about the next big thing (well at least according to FIFA 21 and Football Manager) Jude Bellingham.
If you followed a top English club, you might have heard your team being linked with a certain 17-year-old by the name of Jude Bellingham.
While he was at Birmingham City, Jude Bellingham had attracted plenty of attention as a result of his outstanding displays in the Championship last season.
2020 #UCL BREAKTHROUGH TEAM
Congratulations, lads! Much more to come pic.twitter.com/2o2jtpwQAS
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) January 7, 2021
Despite only turning 16 in June, Bellingham had been a revelation for Birmingham last season, starting 24 of his team’s opening 36 league games.
Borussia Dortmund landed the midfielder’s signature in July, in a deal said to be worth around £23m to Birmingham, with a five-year contract for the teenage sensation. It was the end of a long dragged saga.
While Dortmund were interested in Bellingham last January; Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Wolves and Chelsea had all apparently scouted him, with Manchester United the Germans’ main rivals in the race for the 17-year-old.
It was revealed last January that Manchester United had made an offer of more than £30m as they looked to secure his services.
With that in mind, we profile one of the country’s brightest young talents who moved to Germany, instead of staying in his home country and moving to a Premier League giant.
Standing at 6’4”, Bellingham is blessed with superb technical ability and is very good at carrying the ball from a deep-lying midfield position to the final third. The West Midlands native has a good first touch and twinkling feet, making it difficult to snatch the ball from him.
Similar to other youngsters, Bellingham since his academy days has played in a variety of positions in midfield and in attack, but more recently, the 17-year-old has primarily featured as a box-to-box midfielder.
His defensive contribution is eye-catching too. He is a work-horse who leads the Birmingham press in the center of the park and enjoys a tackle. The youngster also wins back possession at a very decent rate and also at dangerous positions, which helps his team to launch quick counters on the opposition.
His numbers and performances suggest that, the recently turned 17-year-old has no real weaknesses in his game and is destined to be an elite midfielder soon.
SON OF NON-LEAGUE LEGEND
Jude Bellingham is the son of Mark Bellingham, a non-league football legend who enjoyed an astounding playing career. Mark had spells with Leamington, Sutton Coldfield and Stourbridge among other non-league sides.
In total, he scored over 700 goals in about 850 appearances across his playing career. Not bad really; and it’s a hell of a record assuming of course that Bellingham hasn’t inflated his own statistics, like a non-league Pele.
IDOLIZES A GOAT
These days where people are left scratching their heads over whom to choose between Messi and Ronaldo, Jude Bellingham knows which side he’s on.
Bellingham has retweeted posts where he has described the Barcelona No.10 as the greatest of all time which proves he is a big fan of Lionel Messi. This hardly comes as a surprise as, Jude himself is a player who enjoys dribbling and cutting inside the pitch with the ball at his feet just like the Barcelona great himself.
THE YOUNGEST (Player & Scorer)
You could have a bottle of wine in your kitchen older than Jude Bellingham.
In August last year, at the age of 16 years and 38 days old, Bellingham became Birmingham City’s youngest ever first team player, beating the record set by Trevor Francis who was the grand old age of 16 years and 139 days when he first appeared for Birmingham, which had stood for an astonishing 39 years.
“There are no young and old players, there are only good and bad players,”
He was handed his first start in a game at home to Stoke. With his side level on score at 1-1, the teenager carried the ball forward from deep midfield and decided to try his luck from distance. The ball took a deflection and ended up into the back of the net.
While it wasn’t a goal from outside the world, it was exceptional from Bellingham to maraud forward with elegance and confidence and take it upon himself to create an opportunity. In the process of this, he also became the club’s youngest ever goal scorer as well.
VERSATILITY IS HIS STRENGTH
Bellingham has primarily been deployed in central midfield the past year, but he has also played on either flank, as well as in the attacking midfielder role and even as a center forward on one occasion.
He works tirelessly for the team and has been bright in whatever position he has played, but his managers are of the opinion that he is most effective when playing in the central midfield role.
— Borussen (@BorussenEdits) December 22, 2020
After their 2-1 win over Middlesborough back in October, Birmingham City manager Clotet told Birmingham’s official website: “For me, that’s Jude’s best position playing in midfield in front of the back four.
“When he made his debut here at St. Andrew’s he did it on the wing in the same position that Fran Villalba played on Friday. So, he had to come in and try to link in behind, but in my head, he was always a midfielder.”
MATURITY LEVEL BEYOND YEARS
It’s perhaps fair to say that most of us lack any kind of leadership skills at the age of 16 – but Bellingham in Bellingham’s case-
Plays with a maturity beyond his years? Check.
Exceptional talent? Check.
Youngest ever Birmingham player? Check.
Well, he’s also a leader.
Dream come true. pic.twitter.com/3IS9h7lBqQ
— Jude Bellingham (@BellinghamJude) November 13, 2020
Bellingham captained the England Under-17 side at the Syrenka Cup in 2019, with the young Three Lions going on to win the friendly tournament. The starlet also picked up the Player of the Tournament award. He scored against both Finland and Austria before helping his side overcome Poland on penalties in the final.
However, the talented teenager plays with a tremendous amount of maturity, constantly looking to hound and press his opponents when out of possession, while he will also look to bring his teammates into the game when on the ball.
Despite his tender age, he is a player that certainly does not shy away from taking responsibility and he has proven to be a valuable first-team member.
WHY BVB OVER RED DEVILS?
Reports had suggested that Manchester United gave Bellingham and his father, Mark, a tour of the AON Training Complex as well as Old Trafford and even called in Sir Alex Ferguson to convince the youngster to join the club next season.
However, Italian Journalist Fabrizio Romano suggested that the player’s advisors wanted guaranteed playing time, which United were unlikely to offer.
A move to Dortmund makes sense in that regard, given how well players like Christian Pulisic, Jadon Sancho and the German giants’ January acquisition Erling Haaland, who also ditched a move to United in search of a starting role at Dortmund, have fared in the Bundesliga.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 3, 2020
The German top-flight has been a never ending pool of talent for a number of years and Sancho’s incredible success in the Bundesliga is prompting more and more English youngsters to ditch the bench of a top English club and play regularly in Germany.
When Jude Bellingham was presented at Borussia Dortmund in July, the German club’s CEO Michael Zorc made it clear that the 17-year-old was going to play a role in the first team next season.
“There are no young and old players, there are only good and bad players,” Zorc assured that Bellingham would immediately compete for a spot in Lucien Favre’s first team squad.