As the European Championships edge closer, Gareth Southgate will be keeping his cards close to his chest as the England manager continues to narrow down his selections for whom will receive his golden ticket.
The debate continues as to who should be in the 23-man squad for the tournament but with the likes of Jude Bellingham continuing to impress under the radar, will the dynamic 17-year-old get the nod as Southgate looks for a wildcard pick.
Bellingham a Wildcard Pick for Gareth Southgate
Can England Afford to Not Take Jude Bellingham?
His constant threat in the midfield of the German club proved difficult for the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan as they struggled to control the game due to the influence of the former Birmingham City midfielder. Despite his early goal for Dortmund, they crashed out at the hands of Pep Guardiola’s City who are still on for the quadruple.
The Stourbridge-born midfielder has disallowed a goal in the first leg after his tackle on City goalkeeper Ederson was deemed a foul despite replays showing he had won the ball, whilst going into the tie, Dortmund was as big as 60/1 underdogs to win the tournament.
After becoming the second-youngest player to start in a Champions League fixture, the teenage midfielder continued to shine on the biggest stage in club competitions impressing with his overall display. With the limelight, all on his teammate Erling Haaland and much like Jadon Sancho; Bellingham has initiated an excelled resolve to become a world-class player for years to come.
As Southgate continues to narrow down his options, a spot could become available for Bellingham if England is to revert to three in midfield. With an abundance of youth and the ability to take on his man, the 17-year-old could prove to be an exciting addition to the squad. Alongside the attacking flair of Jack Grealish and defensively covered by Declan Rice, the young Dortmund star could prove to be the missing piece in the jigsaw with his bundle of energy and ability to take on players.
Teenager Final Piece in the Jigsaw for England Side
Capped twice by England in the recent fixtures, his 45 minutes cameo showed how highly-rated the young star is and how his acceleration from the under-21 set up to the main squad was needed as England look to impress on the world stage after an impressing outing at the World Cup.
Bellingham’s influence in both the attacking and defensive phases of the game are set to show why he should be given an opportunity despite his lack of experience. If Mason Mount is to be the England manager’s first choice, the young teenager’s influence should be ahead of the likes of Tottenham duo Harry Winks and Eric Dier.
The young teenager has impressed whilst in Germany despite 14 starts this season as his game moulds in sync for his team. An 84% pass completion may seem low for a midfielder but for a side like Borussia Dortmund who loves to play on the counter-attack, it becomes higher. In a side that has been performing below-par in the Bundesliga, Bellingham has shone with 6.3 recoveries per game and 1.1 dribbles in 1318 minutes of football. His four assists also attest to his growing influence in the middle of the park but with his excellent versatility, he could be the cream on top of an exciting crop of creative talent at Gareth Southgate’s disposal.
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