Raheem Sterling has tipped Chelsea target Jude Bellingham to go ‘to the very top’ following an impressive display against Iran. The 19-year-old midfielder propelled England to a 6-2 win in the nation’s World Cup opener with a fantastic display.
Alongside Blues midfielder Mason Mount and West Ham captain Declan Rice, Bellingham proved why he’s one of Europe’s most coveted players as he became the Three Lions’ youngest goalscorer at World Cup since Michael Owen in 1998. While it’s easy to get excited about the Borussia Dortmund star’s potential, Sterling has urged supporters to not pile on the pressure and to give him space to develop.
“He’s a fantastic player. He’s one that we’ve just got to let keep doing his thing and enjoying his football and not putting pressure on him,” the Chelsea winger told talkSPORT. “I think he’ll get to the very top, but we’ve just got to be patient and let him flow, and as you see with club football and now internationally, he’s doing really well.
“I do think he’s going to play a vital part in this [England] team, and as you saw the other day how comfortable he is in possession. How confident he is and the maturity as well, I think that’s something that surprises a lot of people about him, his maturity on and off the field.”
Bellingham looks set to play a key role in Gareth Southgate’s side this winter in Qatar. And, several of Europe’s big clubs will be watching on as they monitor his progress on the World stage.
The teenage sensation has been subject to long-term interest from the Blues, football.london understand. The west Londoners watched Bellingham during his time as an academy player at Birmingham City, but after failing to act on their interest, Dortmund swooped in and signed him instead.
Signing Bellingham could also be easier than first thought too, after Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke admitted that the player can leave in the summer if he wishes. As quoted by ESPN, Watzke claimed that the German side can not compete with the wages being offered by other top-flight European sides. He said: “We will hold talks now, as soon as [the World Cup in] Qatar is over, and then we’ll have a fundamental talk about what he would like.
“He just needs to tell us if he’d like to stay or if he’d like to go. In both cases, we’ll talk about it very pleasantly and reasonably together.
“In general, we can imagine that he’d stay with us, but we can’t behave as if this topic wasn’t on the table. If he says, ‘I’d like to do something else,’ then the really big [clubs] in Europe will be there, and we can’t afford to fight financially.”