Jude Bellingham ‘grateful’ for stunning rise with England

Jude Bellingham is surprised by the speed of his international ascent (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)
Jude Bellingham is surprised by the speed of his international ascent (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

Jude Bellingham has expressed surprise at the speed of his ascent to World Cup stardom after playing a pivotal role in England’s thumping opening win over Iran.

Bellingham, 19, scored his first international goal in the 6-2 win in Al Rayyan, making him the second teenager to score for England at a World Cup after Michael Owen’s heroics as an 18-year-old in 1998.

Bellingham may have grown used to blowing age-related records since he eclipsed Trevor Francis to become the youngest player to feature in Birmingham’s first team at the age of 16 in 2019.

But he admitted on the ‘Lions’ Den’ social media programme: “I always dreamed I would be here but I never thought it would be this early.

“It’s maybe three years since my professional debut and I’ve been given the opportunity to do things that a lot of people haven’t done in their whole careers, and I’m so grateful.

“There’s an element of quality and technique but there’s also luck and trust. To get that trust from managers and players to make me feel so comfortable at this level does make me really happy.”

Bellingham headed England’s opener in the 35th minute of the Group B clash and while he admitted excitement over his latest momentous feat, he has already turned his focus to Friday’s second clash against the United States.

“It is difficult to sleep,” added Bellingham. “I was up all night trying to reply to messages and speak to people about how the game was.

“It was a really nice day for everyone but there is a level of professionalism when it comes to being ready the next day and good to go on Friday, because you don’t get given the World Cup for winning one game.

“We can take a lot of confidence from scoring six goals in any game, but especially in a World Cup. We know it means nothing to win one game, we have to back it up with a good performance against the USA.”