‘We’ll involve him in the game, see how it goes’: Gareth Southgate confirms Dortmund’s teenage sensation Jude Bellingham will be handed England debut in Wembley friendly against Ireland
- Gareth Southgate will hand Jude Bellingham his England debut at Wembley
- Bellingham has earned a call-up to the squad against the Republic of Ireland
- Southgate believes Bellingham will benefit from the experience at Wembley
- Bellingham earned his place after an impressive start at Borussia Dortmund
Gareth Southgate has confirmed his plans to hand Jude Bellingham his England debut at Wembley.
Bellingham has earned a call-up to the senior squad against the Republic of Ireland as a reward to his excellent start to life at Borussia Dortmund.
Southgate believes Bellingham – who is set to become England’s third-youngest player ever – will benefit from the experience.
Gareth Southgate confirmed his plans to hand Jude Bellingham his England debut at Wembley
Southgate says he will benefit from the experience for playing against the Republic of Ireland
Southgate said: ‘My initial conversation with him was that you’ll have a few days with us, we’ll involve you in the game, we’ll see how it goes, and that’s going to be a brilliant experience for him.’
Southgate addressed the fact that Bellingham was called up ahead of the likes of Ross Barkley or James Maddison.
He said: ‘It’s always interesting to see the reaction when we select a player, because people are immediately talking about other players without understanding why we’ve called Jude up.
‘It’s not a decision that he’s a better player than one or two older players who I’ve seen mentioned, although those players don’t play in the position that he plays. And that’s a fact.
‘We could flippantly say, “Well, he’s playing for a massive club and he’s playing Champions League football”, but there’s actually a bit more to it than that.
‘The bigger picture here is a great opportunity to bring another young player with us that is going to benefit England for the long-term.
‘Whether he stays with us for the full week, we’ll decide after the game.’
Bellingham will become England’s third youngest player ever if gets on against Ireland
Bellingham earned his call-up against an impressive season at Borussia Dortmund
Bellingham will be 17 years and 136 days old when the Three Lions take on Stephen Kenny’s side at Wembley on Thursday.
Only Theo Walcott and Wayne Rooney were younger than Bellingham when they made their senior England debuts.
Walcott became England’s youngest ever player at 17 years old and 75 days when he played against Hungary in 2006.
While Rooney had previously held the record after he made his debut against Austria in a friendly at the age of 17 years and 111 days.
Rooney later went on to became the youngest starter in 2003 at the age of 17 years and 160 days when he played against Turkey in 2003.
Bellingham – who will be adding to history – has been awarded the opportunity after an impressive start to his career at Borussia Dortmund – providing two assists thus far.
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