Jude Bellingham pictured during last night's game. Alamy Stock Photo
Catching The Eye

‘It is scary how good he is at 18’ – Praise for Jude Bellingham

Jack Grealish talked up his England team-mate after an impressive display.

JACK GREALISH says England team-mate Jude Bellingham’s ability is “scary” and concedes he was nowhere near the same standard when he was a teenager.

Borussia Dortmund man Bellingham, the youngest member of Gareth Southgate’s squad, excelled in an advanced midfield role during Tuesday’s comfortable 3-0 friendly win over 10-man Ivory Coast.

The impressive 18-year-old caused constant problems for outclassed opposition with driving runs forward and was denied his maiden international goal by a post.

Grealish – the most expensive England player of all time following last summer’s £100million move from Aston Villa to Manchester City – is excited by the talent of his fellow Birmingham native.

“I haven’t actually (played with a teenager who is that good),” Grealish said. “It is scary how good he is at 18.

“He is just so mature. He is built like he is my age at 26. He has so much technical ability and he is mature for his age.

“I can tell you one thing, I was nowhere near as good at 18. I was at Notts County (on loan from Villa) and I was a scrawny little thing as well.

“You see talented 18 or 19-year-old kids but not many are that mature as he is on the pitch. He is so versatile and can play in many different positions on the pitch.

“He can be a six, eight or a 10. It was good to play with him and I think it was my first time playing with him. It is nice to play with a fellow Brummie.”

Bellingham was part of England’s squad for last summer’s European Championship and looks certain to travel to this year’s World Cup after shining on only his fourth international start – his 12th cap overall.

Goals from Ollie Watkins, captain Raheem Sterling and Tyrone Mings did the damage for Southgate’s men in a match that effectively ended as a contest following the 40th-minute dismissal of Ivorian captain Serge Aurier for a second yellow card.

Grealish later revealed he urged Belgian referee Erik Lambrechts not to dismiss former Tottenham defender Aurier as it would lessen the challenge for the hosts.

The 26-year-old, who set up Sterling’s strike just minutes later, is loving life with England and insists the Euro 2020 runners-up “don’t fear anyone” ahead of Friday’s World Cup draw.

“It will be quite surreal watching a World Cup draw knowing I could be going,” Grealish said.

“It is so hard to get into this squad with the amount of talent but as a group we don’t fear anyone.

“We have such a confident group and a good group of players with a mix of experience and youth but so much talent.

“I have heard people say before, players who played for England 10 or 15 years ago, that they didn’t enjoy it.

“For me, I love coming away. I love the training with the lads, such a good group, and credit to the staff, they’ve done that, and the manager.

“It is just the little things in the Euros they did for us they made us feel so homely which helped us. We have such a good group and I love coming away.”

Stand-in skipper Sterling – wearing the armband due to Harry Kane beginning on the bench – also impressed at Wembley, registering a goal and an assist.

He believes the Three Lions are building well towards Qatar.

“The last couple of years we’ve gained massive experience,” Sterling told beIN Sports.

“It’s a team that I think is getting better and the more time that we’re together, we’re going to be better.

“The World Cup is going to be another great test for us. All we can do is play these games and do it to the best of our ability and when that time comes for the World Cup, I’m sure we will be ready.”

Press Association
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