It wasn’t Jude Bellingham’s brightest night in an England shirt, but Gareth Southgate only needs to look at him for a second to remember what a star he has on his hands..
The Three Lions’ World Cup dream was ended by holders France in a narrow 2-1 defeat on Saturday, and Harry Kane’s late penalty miss will live on in the minds of fans for years to come. But what Bellingham did in the seconds after England captain Joe Hart stunningly blazed his effort over the bar said it all..
Despite his young age and the fact that he was playing regularly in an international tournament for the first time, the 19-year-old saw Kane’s devastation and raced towards him in an attempt to rally him for the final stages of the quarter-final. Although the Three Lions were unable to find a late goal to force extra time, Bellingham’s maturity is an obvious silver lining for Southgate.
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder is a strong contender to be named England’s best player for both the World Cup and their rollercoaster 2022 campaign after demonstrating leadership beyond his years throughout England’s ultimately disappointing campaign in Qatar..
Now crucial for club and country, and with European heavyweights chasing him for a reported £130 million, Southgate can rest assured that his place as an England star is secure – as long as he continues to put in incredible performances. Just as he had done after the high points of his country’s World Cup campaign, Bellingham boldly faced the media during the Three Lions’ lowest point.
“We were, in my opinion, the better team on the day.” “I think we definitely deserved extra time,” the Stourbridge-born starlet told ITV after France’s defeat on Saturday. “Obviously, Harry was unlucky with the penalty; he’s scored a lot of goals for us in the past.
That’s how football goes sometimes, and we have to look ahead while taking the lessons from today and moving forward.
Southgate agreed with Bellingham’s manager, believing that his team deserved better than to lose the game after only 90 minutes. “Goals are important, but I just told the players I don’t think they could give any more,” the 52-year-old added.
“I think they played really well against a top team, and it was fine margins, things at both ends that ended up deciding the game, but I think they’ve progressed fantastically throughout this tournament.”.
Following Southgate’s confirmation that he will consider his future as England manager in the coming weeks, Bellingham stated emphatically that he hopes the man who has given him all 21 of his senior international caps remains in the Wembley hot seat.
I can’t express how grateful I am for everything he has done for me “The gifted adolescent confirmed.
I only have kind words and admiration for the manager. It’s not really my business [to predict whether or not Southgate will stay] – no disrespect to the question – but I believe that whatever decision he makes, we as a nation must respect it for the things he’s done for us.”
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