Jude Bellingham has received his first call-up to the England senior team replacing the injured James Ward-Prowse for England’s friendly against Republic of Ireland and UEFA Nations League games against Iceland and Belgium.
Bellingham was originally called up for the England U21 side, but injuries to Ward Prowse and Trent Alexander-Arnold meant that Southgate needed to add to his squad, and Jude was a beneficiary.
It’s a tremendous compliment to the performances that Bellingham has been putting in for BVB so far this season. He has become a regular part of the team’s rotation, and in recent games, coming off the bench, he has been one of Dortmund’s best players. This would be a testament to any player’s quality, but at 17 years old, it is unbelievable how well he is doing. 17 year old kids do not step into one of the best teams in Europe, at center mid, and immediately have an impact. Bellingham has no ceiling.
Given that England will be playing three games in 6 days, it seems highly likely that Jude will receive at least one cap, and he may feature in multiple games. If Jude is capped during the international break, he will become the third youngest England player ever, behind Theo Walcott, who was 17 years and 75 days when he came off the bench against Hungary in 2006, and Wayne Rooney, who was 17 years 111 days when he made his debut against Australia in 2003.
He would be younger than a number of big names that made their debuts at very young ages. That includes some of the stars of the current England squad, such as Raheem Sterling (17y 342d), Jadon Sancho (18y 201d), and Marcus Rashford (18y, 209d), and some of England’s greatest ever players, such as Michael Owen (18y, 59d) and Duncan Edwards (18y, 183d).
I think I’m about as high on Bellingham as anyone, and my bold prediction was that Bellingham would receive a call-up to the senior side by the end of the season. I did not expect it to be so soon. Congratulations Jude!