Jude Bellingham’s former coach has explained how the Birmingham midfielder’s mentality will set him up for a fantastic career, wherever he chooses to play.
The 16-year-old has become one of European football’s most sought-after young talents after a stunning breakthrough season in the Championship.
Bellingham has chipped in with four goals and three assists this term and his performances have led to serious interest from the likes of Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund.
Reports previously indicated that the youngster has been shown around United’s Carrington training complex by Sir Alex Ferguson, while Dortmund are said to have drawn up a prospective salary for the player.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Sam Manoochehri – who worked with Bellingham for four years – outlined that United, as well as Chelsea, could benefit from signing the midfielder.
“I’ve got no doubt in my mind that Jude will play in the Champions League and he will represent England at senior level,” the coach said.
“Man Utd, it might be a nice fit for Jude, with a rejuvenated team, and talk of Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish going over there.
“But Dortmund would also suit. The recent profile of players that have come through that system, the likes of Jadon Sancho. Jude would fit that mould, too.
“And look at what’s going on at Chelsea now. A lot of good young players in that team.”
Going further, Manoochehri offered anecdotes about two occasions on which Bellingham displayed the “elite” mentality that he believes will serve the midfielder well.
“Anywhere Jude goes, he will be a success, based purely on his mentality. I have never seen a mentality more elite than this,” the coach said. “When I worked with him, when something was tough, he loved it.
“I can remember games when he wanted to play centre-half to test himself. Now if you say to most young midfielders or attackers, ‘by the way you’re playing centre-half today’, they probably wouldn’t be best pleased with it.
“But Jude would actively go and seek the challenge without having to be pushed from the coaching staff. All we did was provide an environment in which he could go and stretch himself.
“I can remember one training session in particular where after about 20 minutes, I asked him: ‘are you using your other foot?’. He replied: ‘Yeah, I am just going to play on my left foot today’ and that was without any prompts.
“That is his unique ability. He loves a challenge, loves developing and learning, and being pushed out of his comfort zone.”
In other news, United have reportedly drafted up a contract offer that they hope will convince Odion Ighalo to remain at the club next season.
Ighalo is scheduled to go back to China at the end of May when his loan deal from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua expires.