Yaya Toure has warned English media and pundits not to hype Jude Bellingham up too much, having reminded the country about the hype placed around another once-vaunted young star.
The teenage England midfielder has been one of the Three Lions’ stars of the World Cup. His incredible displays in the middle of the park have wowed audiences worldwide during England’s march to the World Cup quarter-finals.
Already impressing in the tournament, he took Sunday’s round of 16 clash with Senegal by the scruff of the neck, playing a dazzling role in his England’s 3-0 win. Even the notoriously-hard-to-please Roy Keane has lavished him with praise.
His impressive outings only serve to raise transfer interest in Bellingham too. Liverpool’s interest in the star is well documented with Jurgen Klopp looking to freshen up his midfield in 2023.
But there are other top clubs waiting in the wings too. And while TEAMtalk has exclusively revealed one of those is out the running, competition is sure to remain intense.
Understandably, though, Bellingham ranks as one of the world’s most valuable teenagers in the game.
With a mouthwatering World Cup quarter-final tie against France on the horizon, Bellingham carries with him a lot of English hopes.
His battle, alongside Declan Rice and possibly Jordan Henderson, against Aurelien Tchouameni and Adrien Rabiot may prove the key battleground at the Al Bayt Stadium.
However, in the build-up to the game, Man City legend Yaya Toure has warned that Bellingham must not be hyped up too much.
And in an excruciating reminder of the rise and fall of Dele Alli, Toure has delivered a cutting verdict.
Yaya Toure wary of Jude Bellingham hype
Toure told The Athletic: “Bellingham has been the star of all of England’s matches for me.
“Sometimes he’s scoring, sometimes he’s passing, and the timing of his box-to-box runs are perfect.
“He’s in good shape and came into this tournament with the right confidence from Borussia Dortmund. You can tell he sees himself as a potential top player in the world, and wants to show it at the World Cup.”
Warning the English media, he added: “I hope the media are careful with him because we saw a similar situation a few years ago with Dele Alli, who struggled at times with being presented as a leader for club and country.
“It’s important for everyone to be protective of Bellingham for his development, because it’s clear he has a bright, bright future with England.
“His mentality – his focus, his determination to win – at 19 is not normal.
“In my career, I mostly saw it in South American players, with Javier Mascherano (Argentina) being a good example. But I’ve also seen it in Gavi of Spain at this tournament. More young English players need what Bellingham has.”
Star differs from Gerrard and Lampard
Toure has explained why England are right to place such faith in Bellingham and has revealed how he differs from Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.
“In the past we saw England with midfielders like Lampard or Gerrard who could shoot from long range,” he stated.
“Now we see players like Bellingham with different characteristics physically and in terms of technical ability, close to big players from other top countries.
“His vision is clear and he’s smart. It’s not easy to have this vision at the speed of the game.
“When I see the runs he makes to allow his teammates to open the game, or when he has the ball, he doesn’t look 19.
“He looks like a player who has been playing at a high level for a long period. Full credit to Birmingham and to Dortmund for his development – Dortmund have been developing players brilliantly well.”
England’s clash with France will really show the world what Bellingham is about and says he has to be at his best if England are to progress.
England v France assessment
“France will be a big test for England. They are a top, top team, the 2018 World Cup winners, and they are very well organised,” he stated.
“It’s so difficult to break them open in their 4-4-2. Individually they have quality and collectively they are very strong. They have been playing with each other for six, seven years and they have that consistency.
“Mbappe is in red-hot form but so is Bellingham. That’s the head-to-head, because those are the two players who can open the game.
“His movement will be vital, and England will need their other special talents, like Foden and Bukayo Saka, to turn up and the more experienced players to guide them.
“This game is going to determine if they can believe in winning the World Cup. I want Bellingham to go far in this competition because I’ve been really impressed by him. He’s going to be one of the best midfielders in the world and he’s showing his talent already.
“We have more to see from him, I’m 100 per cent sure of that.”