Published On: Wed, Sep 13th, 2023
Sports | 2,169 views

Bellingham a future England captain as Southgate marvels at player | Football | Sport

Gareth Southgate studied the face of Jude Bellingham during the national anthems at Hampden and saw the future England captain. The 20-year-old’s performance in the bear-pit atmosphere showed he already has the heart of a leader. At the same time, Southgate believes that by carefully choosing who he hangs around with at England camps, the Real Madrid starlet is quickly developing the mind of a leader, too.

Ever since Tony Adams used to belt out “God Save the Queen” ahead of internationals this country has put a curious amount of stock into how the captain observes the pre-match rituals. Back straight, chest puffed out proudly, Bellngham passed that test with flying colours.

“Tonight he was terrific,” Southgate said. “The biggest thing for me is his personality. We knew our anthem would be booed, we talked to the players about taking energy from that. We wanted to prepare them for everything for the game

“But I’m looking at him stood in the line and I know what’s coming. That’s the sort of thing that makes the difference, the mentality of the player.” On a night when England needed to be brave, Bellingham showed that spirit the right way.

Aside from a brief moment before half-time when he allowed himself to be goaded into a stand-up row by Jack Hendry, Bellingham kept his cool in the face of some uncompromising tackling and saved his own aggression for the ambition of his passing – providing moments of magic in the creation of all three goals.

“He’s definitely got leadership qualities,” Southgate said. “The great thing in this group is our senior players are such good leaders, we’ve got six or seven who are incredible.” Among them are former Tottenham pair Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier, two northern lads an entire decade older than Bellingham, very much a product of the Midlands.

Yet they are the two figures Bellingham tends to gravitate towards in that awkward St George’s Park environment where he does not even have club team-mates to lean upon during downtime. “The two full-backs who played tonight are incredible characters for us, real unsung heroes, and they set a brilliant leadership example around the place,” Southgate said.

“Where Jude’s bright enough, is to attach himself to those sorts of characters. The people you mix with, the people you hang around with in life, probably are a good indicator of where you’re going to end up. He’s really savvy at that.

“I think his whole life and how his family have looked after him have given him a great start but there’s still a lot to go.” He is travelling along the road quickly. By banging them in for Real Madrid at 20, right now he is already the standout player of the season at the world’s most star-struck club.

“The biggest thing is he’ll be opened to different life experiences that are going to help his game,” the England manager said. “You can work with world-class players in some English clubs, but the club he’s at, the expectation is the biggest club in the world.

“He will be learning from some outstanding players. Playing against different tactical systems, different sorts of problems. It’s for all of us to make sure we’re helping him in the right way, pushing him at the right times, helping him with the bits of his game that can get better. But also allowing him to flourish as he did at Hampden.”

Source link