HIS rise has been as fast as one of his galloping runs from midfield.

Jude Bellingham, 19, gave England the perfect start to their World Cup campaign by heading home the opener in the 6-2 win against Iran.

Reuters

Jude Bellingham celebrates giving England the lead with Mason Mount[/caption]

Bellingham’s towering header gave the Three Lions the perfect start
Richard Pelham / The Sun

It was in 2020, when football fans around the world were shocked that Borussia Dortmund paid £30million to snatch him from Championship side Birmingham.

But, today he could be worth four times that – after excelling in the Bundesliga and establishing himself in Gareth Southgate’s team.

His nine goals in all competitions this season show why he has been compared to box-to-box midfield legend, Bryan Robson.

While Bellingham, the son of a non-league footballer and policeman, became only the second teenager to score for the Three Lions at a World Cup.

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And football’s hottest property will certainly continue to interest the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool and Man Utd as he continues his incredible form.

To think, modest Bellingham once hoped that he could have a career as good as dad, Mark.

Record breaker

Bellingham made his Birmingham City debut in 2019 aged 16 years and 38 days in the Carabao Cup against  Portsmouth, becoming the Blues’ youngest player.

Bellingham has come a long way since his days in Birmingham’s youth teams
Twitter @bellinghamjude
PA:Empics Sport

Goalscoring midfielder Bellingham celebrates scoring for his boyhood club[/caption]


His impressive technique, as well as comparisons to Robson, saw the wonderkid linked with a move to Manchester United – who were said to have had a bid turned down for the talent.

Europe’s giants also circled, as the player who was earning just £145-per-week as a scholar was about to become one of the most highly-paid youngsters in the game.

Guiding him through his career is his dad, Mark, a sergeant in the West Midlands Police — and prolific former non-league striker who played over 700 games for teams such as Stourbridge, Leamington, Bromsgrove and Halesowen.

While his brother Jobe Bellingham is also making a name for himself at Birmingham.

“If I get anywhere near that I’ll have had a great career. I’ll try my best!” Bellingham said comparing his own achievements to his father’s.

“My mum, dad, brother, grandparents — they are the reason I’m here today, because of all the sacrifices they have made.”

Jude Bellinghams dad played non-league football
Jude Bellingham’s dad Mark, left, played non-league football
Birmingham City FC
Bellingham became Birmingham Citys youngest ever player back in August
Bellingham became Birmingham City’s youngest ever player in 2016
Rex Features

Beating Trevor Francis

Birmingham legend Trevor Francis – the previous youngest Blues scorer – was watching his grandson play for their Academy when he first heard about Bellingham.

There had been a buzz about him for some time and Francis asked people: “Who is he? They say he could beat my record.”

In 2019, he did just that — at 16 years and 63 days — when he grabbed the winner to sink Stoke.

It meant Bellingham eclipsed Francis twice in a month after his age-defying debut against Pompey.

Bellingham later revealed: “The kind of person I am meant I wanted to beat the record, or see how close I could get to it because I’ve heard how great Trevor Francis was.”

Having impressed so much, he went on to make 44 appearances in all competitions in his first season.

Jude Bellingham seems destined for a major club in the summer after already starting 21 games for Birmingham this season, at the age of 16
In 2019, Bellingham beat Trevor Francis’ goalscoring record
PA:Empics Sport
Refer to Caption

A young Bellingham poses with Birmingham legend Trevor Francis[/caption]

Germany calling

It seemed inevitable that Bellingham would move on to bigger and better things after starring in the Championship at such a precious age.

But a move to Borussia Dortmund was a shock, given his suitors at the time.

He visited Manchester United, who arranged a meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson to help push a deal over the line.

However, after seeing how Sancho had prospered after leaving United’s rivals Manchester City, Bellingham was drawn to Dortmund.

Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund signed Bellingham from Birmingham for £30m[/caption]

Getty Images

Bellingham (C) poses as he signs his contract next to Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke (L) and sporting director Michael Zorc[/caption]

He flew to Germany in the summer of 2020 to sign a deal worth £30million – the highest fee for a 17-year-old ever.

“I’m incredibly excited to have joined one of Europe’s biggest clubs,” he said at the time.

“The direction they are heading in and how much they help to improve young players made it an easy decision for myself and my family.”

Bundesliga success

Immediately recognising his talent, Dortmund thrust Bellingham into their first team to blood the boy.

And they were justified with that decision, again with the teen breaking even more records.

On his debut in the DFB-Pokal against third-tier MSV Duisburg Bellingham scored the second goal in a comfortable 5-0 win.

His strike after half-an-hour made him the youngest scorer in a competitive match for the club – breaking Nuri Sahin’s record by six days.

AP:Associated Press

Bellingham has starred for Dortmund in Germany[/caption]

EPA

With nine goals this season, Bellingham is flying for Dortmund[/caption]

Then, when he appeared in the Champions League against Lazio in 2020, Bellingham became the youngest Englishman to start a Champions League match, breaking the record previously set by Phil Foden.

He also made history earlier this season when he became the youngest captain in the Bundesliga after he was handed the armband for a match against Cologne.

On the world stage his talents were recognised for this year’s Golden Boy Award – coming second behind Spain wonderkid Gavi.

Bellingham’s time has come. And in Qatar, he could further improve his stock with more swashbuckling displays.

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