Jude Bellingham has admitted having to “calm down” after receiving praise from Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, while his interview with Channel 4 had a hint that there are bigger things to come for the England man.
Bellingham was one of England’s bright sparks as they laboured to a 1-0 defeat to Italy in the San Siro. It was a defeat that has sent alarm bells ringing for the Three Lions with the World Cup just two months away.
The defeat relegated them into the second tier of the Nations League, which basically is meaningless. But it’s the form that England are showing under Southgate that is most concerning with Qatar 59 days away.
England are now without a win or even a goal from open play in their past five matches.
Bellingham for his part was good against the Azzurri.
Referred to as “cool, calm and collected in midfield” by Sky Sports and collecting an 8/10 rating. And it’s those characteristics that have made the 19-year-old the most in-demand midfielder in Europe.
All of the Premier League’s big guns are chasing the Borussia Dortmund man, with Liverpool the most heavily linked to the former Birmingham man.
Hint of bigger things to come
“I try and avoid the talk, really. I just want to play well whenever I’m on the pitch,” Bellingham told Channel 4 in the lead-up to England’s defeat in Milan.
“When I play for Dortmund I want to win the game, and when I play for England I want to show people (what I can do).
“It was obviously a big fee but I can’t really say I ever felt the pressure. I felt pretty confident in my own ability that I could get in the team and I could play.”
The pre-recorded interview also had an air of what might be to come for Bellingham, who hinted he may well have done his time in the Bundesliga.
“I’ve gained a lot of experience over the past two or so years. Played in a lot of big games. I’ve been really fortunate to be trusted in a lot of big moments. And I think I’ve helped and delivered in those,” said Bellingham.
Bellingham loves number eight role
He has been lauded by the likes of Owen Hargreaves and Steven Gerrard, while Alessandro Del Piero – on punditry duty for Channel 4 said he wished the youngster was playing for Italy.
“It’s an honour really to be talked of in the same sentence as players like that. Players I’ve looked up to,” Bellingham said.
Gerrard has said he is a big admirer of the Dortmund man and it’s that praise that has taken a while to sink in.
“Someone sent that clip to me and it was a bit surreal,” Bellingham revealed. I watched it three or four times and had to calm myself down.”
Asked about his best position, Bellingham initially claimed he wasn’t entirely sure. He has played as a deep-lying midfielder for England but often plays further forward for England. But he did reveal he believes the number eight role is his best.
“I like getting forward but I also like to make tackles,” he said. “I think the number eight is probably the one that suits me the best,” he added.