There’s no doubt that Jude Bellingham is one of the world’s most talented youngsters and is set to be a key player at the World Cup for England.
The former Birmingham City man has consistently delivered special midfield performances for Borussia Dortmund, including a few in the Champions League this year.
He scored in four consecutive appearances in UEFA’s premier competition this season, and he’s now making the step up to the global stage and starting in England’s midfield in Qatar.
Liverpool have been heavily linked with him, but it looks like they could be beaten by Real Madrid, who are very keen on the England international.
Given he has made over 100 senior appearances for Dortmund and feels like he has been around for a while, it’s easy to forget just how young Bellingham still is.
How old is Jude Bellingham?
Incredibly, Bellingham is still a teenager and made his senior debut for Birmingham as a 16-year-old.
Birmingham then had his number 22 shirt retired after he left the club.
He made his Bundesliga debut at 17 as Dortmund wasted no time introducing him to senior football.
He was part of the Dortmund side that lifted the German Cup in the 2020/21 season, while he broke Wayne Rooney’s long-standing Champions League goalscoring record earlier this year.
He is now 19 and turns 20 next summer, and barring injury, he will almost certainly start for England in their World Cup opener against Iran on Monday.
So though he is young, he has achieved so much.
Jude Bellingham's career in numbers
Senior club appearances: 156
Senior goals: 23
Borussia Dortmund appearances: 112
Borussia Dortmund goals: 19
Champions League appearances: 21
Champions League goals: Six
England appearances: 17
England goals: None
Major trophies: One (DFB-Pokal 2020/21)
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Why didn’t Manchester United sign Bellingham?
Manchester United tried and failed to sign Bellingham twice while he was at Birmingham.
They first made an attempt when the midfielder was just 15, but they couldn’t agree a suitable deal, and the player wanted to remain loyal to the Blues.
They tried again in the summer of 2020 and pulled out all the stops to bring him in.
Bellingham was given a guided tour around Carrington and met Sir Alex Ferguson.
But with the likes of Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and Fred in the engine room at United, the teenager wasn’t sure he would get the game time.
Plus, Dortmund proved with Jadon Sancho they were willing to give youth a chance.
After signing for Dortmund, Bellingham revealed that he didn’t consider a move to Old Trafford: “Well, you know, Man United have a great squad but my decision had nothing to do with Man United.
“I was so focused and so happy with the interest from Dortmund that this became my first choice.
“For me, it was Borussia Dortmund and that’s it. When you find somewhere that’s the best place to be, you kind of ignore everything else, you know what I mean?”
United must certainly live to regret that one, and as Bellingham prepares to face Manchester City in the Champions League, Pep Guardiola has also been singing his praises.
In his pre-match press conference, he said: “Borussia Dortmund is the perfect place for young talent to come.
“Maybe if Jude Bellingham was in England he would go to City, United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal or Tottenham, maybe he would not get the minutes. The best thing for a young player to be better is to play minutes.
“He was 17 when he arrived but it was not just about his quality, how he was leading, his kicking, going to the referee. This guy was something special in terms of his mentality. Now he is 19 and he is already one of the captains. The quality, everybody knows it. The whole package is really good.”
Bellingham might still be young but he has done so much and has the ability to achieve even more in what should be a long and successful career.
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