Jude Bellingham possesses the necessary qualities to rank among the greatest, and I don’t often use that term.
Jude Bellingham performed admirably for Real Madrid today against Real Sociedad.
I very rarely use the term “great player,” and you are well aware by this point that I have a very harsh opinion of midfielders.
However, I can categorically state that Jude Bellingham can fall under that category. He possesses the same physical traits and technical skills as Zinedine Zidane, who is in my opinion one of the best midfielders to ever play for Real Madrid, but only time will tell if he can match Zidane’s accomplishments. His capacity appears to be unbounded.
Before Tuesday’s England vs. Scotland game at Hampden, I had never actually seen Bellingham in person. In contrast, I could see that he is more physically gifted than I was when I was his age as I stood in the middle of the field, 20 to 30 yards from him, as a member of the Channel 4 analysis team prior to kickoff. I didn’t start bulking up until I was 22 or 23. Bellingham, who is only twenty, already exudes perfection despite her physical growth still being in its early stages.
Although, when I look at some of the players now, I would be an average-sized midfielder, I was on the larger half of the spectrum for midfielders when I played.
However, despite the fact that they can analyze a player’s quads, lungs, heart, and bleep-test data in minute detail, do show me the monitor that reveals what is happening within a player’s thoughts when things become challenging. There isn’t one, of course, but that is still the most important quality you can have as a person and a football player. It’s unquestionably one that Bellingham has a lot of.
His game has many different aspects. He covers ground well. He uses excellent skill. He is a young football player with a mature head that has years of experience to gain. He is built like that.
But what makes the best players remarkable is their ability to anticipate events three to four steps in advance. He possesses every quality necessary to rise to the top of the game.
I’ll illustrate this by using an example from a coaching session. After receiving the ball, average players will gather their thoughts and decide what to do with it. They aren’t mentally practicing the game.
The skilled players always have an idea of what they’ll do with the ball before it ever touches them. They had been mentally replaying that football play. Then there are the top athletes, who are consistently two or three steps ahead.
The data from Tuesday night places Bellingham in the latter category. The number doesn’t matter; he chose to wear No. 10 for England and No. 5 for Real Madrid.
I hate to admit it, but I thought Scotland was a really mild country. It wasn’t truly an England test. Bellingham should unquestionably be put to the test against the greatest. He nevertheless profited from a much more skillful application of his abilities than we had saw against Ukraine a few days previously.
He received balls with his back to where he intended to go in that first game after moving too far up the field as the action unfolded.
That doesn’t, in my opinion, fit him at all. He has improved at picking things up. In contrast to James Maddison, who is content to play with his back to the goal and move about the opponent’s box while on the half-turn.
Bellingham has the drive and athleticism to get involved further up the field and then swiftly return to the defensive midfield form when it breaks down, therefore I don’t believe England needs to employ two holding midfielders. When he moves, Declan Rice can fill the empty area behind him.
In place of Rice and Bellingham, I would play Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden wide, with Maddison ahead of both of them and Harry Kane at the top. Kane would undoubtedly adore to team up with Maddison, who consistently delivers the game-winning pass, contributes with goals, and isn’t hesitant to put in the extra defensive effort.
I’m perplexed as to why Gareth Southgate continues to play with the handbrake on with the abundance of creative and goal-scoring talents at his disposal.
Despite their domination, England only had 20 touches in the Scots’ box and five successful attempts. With the talent and innovative players this team is gifted with, that is not enough. These figures demonstrate that England’s forwards were not receiving close to enough supply. Southgate needs to be more daring and use his fantastic offensive strengths.
Everyone would want Bellingham to be a part of their squad. I for one would. He not only seeks out opportunities to rush forward and cause chaos, but he also sprints back into defensive position when his team loses the ball.
He and Rice may team up as England’s midfielders for the ensuing ten years. They can make England a very potent force in the future, which hurts me to say as a proud Scot.