Brilliant Bellingham looks set to dominate the future of the game

Jude Bellingham is not just a generational talent… he may well be the best of ANY generation! Both England’s bow and arrow, he looks set to better Paul Gascoigne’s brilliance and dominate the future of the game

  • Jude Bellingham was outstanding in England’s 3-1 victory against Scotland 
  • He is yet to reach his peak but is already playing like he is the top dog in town 
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast It’s All Kicking Off! 

On a night to mark 150 years of history, it was the future we all left talking about. Not the next 150 years. But in the case of Jude Bellingham, certainly the next 15.

Think back 15 years and to where you were in life. A lifetime ago, right? That is the period we still have to enjoy Bellingham.

The England midfielder could easily play until he is 35 – and do so at the very top. He is that good. He isn’t just a ‘generational talent’, as we like to say, he may well be the best of any generation.

Aged 20, Paul Gascoigne – arguably England’s greatest ever talent – was playing for a Newcastle side who had finished 17th in the First Division and was a year away from being capped. Bellingham is Real Madrid’s top scorer and has appeared 26 times for his country. He is both England’s bow in midfield and their arrow in attack.

Like Gascoigne, he also has a goal against Scotland now. His close-range finish at Hampden Park on Tuesday is not as iconic as Gazza’s volley at Euro 96, but the latter was the older man’s last at a major tournament. He would score just twice more for England. Bellingham is only getting started. That is what really excites.

Jude Bellingham may well be the best of any generation and is both England’s bow and arrow

The midfielder impressed in the victory against Scotland and is playing with a swagger

Just like Paul Gascoigne (pictured), Bellingham now has scored a goal against the Scots

Here is a young man at least five years shy of his peak and playing like he is already the top dog in town. There is a swagger to suggest he knows it, so it’s just as well he has the bite to justify the bark.

When I watched him play for Borussia Dortmund earlier this year, I was taken – disturbed, even – by the manner in which he dug out senior team-mates. There were sulking shoulders, flailing arms and no end of lip. Who do you think you are? 

The answer was Jude Bellingham, Dortmund’s best player and the reason they won that day in Bremen.

Afterwards, I spoke to Germany winger Julian Brandt about his young colleague.

‘He’s an incredible talent,’ he said. ‘I love his way, how he plays football. He is sometimes over the top, yelling at the ref or some team-mates, but this is him. 

‘He is a really good guy and we have a lot of fun with him. If you want to have dinner with him, it’s no problem. You speak with him, and he’ll come. If you want to have a beer with him, it’s no problem either.

He may be five years shy of his peak, but he is already playing like he is the top dog in town

On reflection, perhaps only Real Madrid were big enough to accommodate Bellingham’s aura

At Borussia Dortmund, Bellingham emerged from the mist and took charge of a man’s world

‘With all the pressure he gets, all the publicity, he’s just a boy. For me, that makes him special, it’s astonishing how he deals with it.’

The overriding feeling leaving Germany on that foggy Saturday was one of having witnessed a boy emerge from the mist to take charge of a man’s world. ‘Jude is the oldest 19-year-old player in the world,’ his manager, Edin Terzic, told me.

They knew then he would be leaving and, on reflection, perhaps Real Madrid was the only club big enough to accommodate the aura – and ego – that exists around Bellingham. His celebration against Scotland – static, arms outstretched in a God-like pose – would irritate if performed by a lesser soul.

But it said much that, when he was substituted late in the game, there was applause from a section of the home fans. They, too, had seen a player they can enjoy – even if from afar – for years to come.

A lot of Scots loved and still love Gascoigne. Yes, that was because he played there, but they also recognised a genius footballer. When it comes to Bellingham, everyone inside Hampden this week would agree, here was a prodigy to rival and one day better the brilliance of Gazza.

One of those players decorates the game’s history, the other is ready to dominate its future.


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.

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