Jose Mourinho is convinced a surprise selection in Gareth Southgate’s England squad can produce Frank Lampard-like performances at Euro 2020.
England kick off their Euro 2020 campaign on Sunday afternoon with a mouth-watering clash against Croatia. The Three Lions got a measure of revenge for their World Cup semi-final defeat with a draw and victory that saw them qualify from the group stages of the UEFA Nations League in 2019. However, the stakes are altogether higher in a European Championship.
England possess an impressive array of attacking talent, while questions have been asked about their defence. The midfield has thus far gone under the radar, but Mourinho believes that is where England can spring a major surprise.
The 17-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder was a surprise inclusion into the squad. And but for the tournament being delayed by a year, would otherwise not have been in contention.
“Jude Bellingham is going to have a major role to play for England in this tournament, I am convinced of it,” wrote Mourinho.
“And while it’s very dangerous to compare players — especially when you compare them with top, top performers — I do think Bellingham has something of Frank Lampard about him.
“Lampard shoots ten times, he scores nine goals, he always hits the target. But this kid is also capable of scoring from outside the box.
“He defends well as a midfield player but then he has the potential to be offensive. I like him very much. He is a box-to-box player, that old-school profile.”
“I can’t believe his age” – Mourinho
“I love everything about Bellingham, I can’t believe his age, only 17, Mourinho continued. “The way he plays, the way he brings himself into the game, shows so much maturity.
“We were aware of him when he was at Birmingham and Borussia Dortmund did a phenomenal job to sign him — as with Jadon Sancho.
“I wouldn’t start Bellingham against Croatia on Sunday because the first game always brings a little pressure. But I’d seriously think about starting him in every other game.
“For Sunday’s game, I would go with Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips to bring more stability. Phillips is someone who gives a team balance — you can’t play all your attacking players.”