Jude Bellingham has revealed what it has been like to integrate himself into the England squad at such a young age.
The former Birmingham City midfielder has also spoken on his first meeting with ex-Aston Villa forward Jack Grealish, as well as his love for pundit Ally McCoist in an exclusive interview with talkSPORT.
Bellingham’s rise in football in recent seasons has been nothing short of spectacular, with the 19-year-old now a regular starter at Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund.
His performances for the German side soon saw him earn himself his first call-up to the senior England squad, with the midfielder starting in all three of their World Cup matches so far.
Bellingham has now exclusively spoken to talkSPORT about his initial experiences with the national side, citing his appearances in German football as a cause of nerves when he first joined up with the Three Lions squad.
Speaking ahead of the last-16 match with Senegal on Sunday, he said: “The thing I was most worried about was I’m playing in Germany and they are going to be talking about their games at the weekend and they won’t have a clue what we have done or who I am, or how I played, or whatever so it will be difficult, but it turns out they do when you just get chatting and they take interest and I’m obviously interested in what those guys are up to.
“You really overthink it before you come in and you just realise they are great lads.”
Another player who now has regular call-ups to the England squad is Grealish, who moved from the Midlands to Manchester City last summer.
Aston Villa and Birmingham are local rivals and given Bellingham’s previous stint at the latter, he has revealed that he was worried about meeting Grealish for the first time.
“I remember the first encounter I had in the squad,” he said. “I’ve come down for lunch and it’s just been announced I’m with the senior team.
“I played for Blues and Jack played for Villa at the time and I always thought, do you reckon it would be awkward? He’s Villa, I’m Blues. I’ve got no problem with him, I’ve never met him, but would it be awkward?
“I don’t know what he’d say about it and I think it was the year after he’d been punched in the back of the head so I was thinking, who knows if he holds that grudge or whatever.
“Then we’ve just come to the lunch line and he’s given me a massive hug straight away and I just felt, yeah this is going to be sound.”
talkSPORT host McCoist recently said that Liverpool should have ‘broken the bank’ for the youngster during the summer, with the Reds setting their sights on a potential transfer next year.
The Scottish football legend has been full of praise for the central midfielder, and it now seems as though the feelings are mutual between two.
Bellingham claimed: “I love him. Honestly. Every time he is on the radio, I always listen.
“We don’t really get it in Germany so we just get the clips on YouTube and Twitter and stuff and I just find him so funny.
“When he does commentary on the games, it’s way more enjoyable the games somehow. I like him a lot. He’s so funny. I love him.”
Bellingham has recently become England’s second youngest ever scorer at the World Cup, a title that he can add to a list of accolades that will surely grow in the future.
He is proving to be one of the brightest prospects in world football, but it is very easy to make the claim that he is already a world-class talent.
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