HIS rise has been as fast as one of his galloping runs from midfield.
Borussia Dortmund sensation Jude Bellingham, 17, has been called up to the England squad by Gareth Southgate for the first time, after injuries to Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Ward-Prowse.
That completes a remarkable year for the 6ft 1in star, who has excelled in the Bundesliga following his £30million move from Birmingham City.
The extraordinary talent was linked with a move to Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona, but opted to join another Three Lions starlet Jadon Sancho, who has also been allowed to develop at Dortmund.
Here's his story.
Bellingham made his Birmingham City debut last season aged 16 years and 38 days in the Carabao Cup against Portsmouth, becoming the Blues’ youngest player.
His impressive technique, as well as comparisons to Dele Alli, saw the wonderkid linked with a move to Manchester United – who were said to have had a bid turned down for the talent.
Europe's giants also circled, as the player who was earning just £145-per-week as a scholar was about to become one of the most highly-paid youngsters in the game.
Guiding him through his career is his dad, Mark, a sergeant in the West Midlands Police — and prolific former non-league striker who played over 700 games for teams such as Stourbridge, Leamington, Bromsgrove and Halesowen.
"If I get anywhere near that I’ll have had a great career. I’ll try my best!" Bellingham said comparing his own achievements to his father's.
"My mum, dad, brother, grandparents — they are the reason I’m here today, because of all the sacrifices they have made."
BEATING BRUM LEGEND TREVOR FRANCIS
Birmingham legend Trevor Francis – the previous youngest Blues scorer – was watching his grandson play for their Academy when he first heard about Bellingham.
There had been a buzz about him for some time and Francis asked people: “Who is he? They say he could beat my record.”
Last season, he did just that — at 16 years and 63 days — when he grabbed the winner to sink Stoke.
It meant Bellingham eclipsed Francis for the second time in a month after his age-defying debut against Pompey.
Bellingham later revealed: “The kind of person I am meant I wanted to beat the record, or see how close I could get to it because I’ve heard how great Trevor Francis was.”
Having impressed so much, he went on to make 44 appearances in all competitions.
It seemed inevitable that Bellingham would move on to bigger and better things after starring in the Championship at such a precious age.
But a move to Borussia Dortmund was a shock, given his suitors at the time.
He visited Manchester United, who arranged a meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson to help push a deal over the line.
However, after seeing how England team-mate Sancho had prospered after leaving United's rivals Manchester City, Bellingham was drawn to Dortmund.
In July, he flew to Germany to sign a deal worth £30million – the highest fee for a 17-year-old ever.
"I'm incredibly excited to have joined one of Europe's biggest clubs," he said at the time.
"The direction they are heading in and how much they help to improve young players made it an easy decision for myself and my family."
A SUCCESSFUL START
Immediately recognising his talent, Dortmund thrust Bellingham into their first team to blood the boy.
And they were justified with that decision, again with the teen breaking even more records.
On his debut in the DFB-Pokal against third-tier MSV Duisburg Bellingham scored the second goal in a comfortable 5-0 win.
His strike after half-an-hour made him the youngest scorer in a competitive match for the club – breaking Nuri Sahin's record by six days.
Then, when he appeared in the Champions League against Lazio in October, Bellingham became the youngest Englishman to start a Champions League match, breaking the record previously set by Phil Foden.
Ironically, it's those two that could be starring in the centre of England's midfield for years to come.
Source: Read Full Article