Home BETTING TIPS Bellingham will continue to prove doubters wrong

Bellingham will continue to prove doubters wrong



Nobody builds up footballers only to knock them down again like English fans and media.

Jude Bellingham is the best and most important player in this current generation; you only need to look at how he dragged Gareth Southgate’s team into extra time of their Euro 2024 last-16 tie with Slovakia with a stunning bicycle kick on Sunday.

Even in this tournament, when he has looked tired and miles off the exceptional standards he set at Real Madrid this season, he is still taking responsibility and making decisive contributions nobody should be expecting of a player who turned 21 this week.

Mostly, his development has been met with overwhelming positivity and support, from his obvious generational talent aged 16 at Birmingham City, to it becoming clear he is a player on the level every successful international team needs.

But over recent weeks and more pertinently, days, there has been a shift in the way Bellingham is viewed. His celebration left little to the imagination; he turned to the England fans, some who’d been suggesting he should be taken out of the team after some mediocre performances, and shouted ‘who else?’. It is clear that message was very calculated; Bellingham has been irked by the criticism the team and by extension he has been getting over the last few weeks, and he knows how good he is. There is an ongoing investigation into a hand gesture allegedly directed towards the Slovakian bench by UEFA; Bellingham denies any wrongdoing and says it was an inside joke with some people at the game.

He came out swinging in the press conference after the game.

“Playing for England should be one of the proudest moments of a footballer’s career, but at times it is quite difficult,” he said.

“There’s a really intense pressure. The fans expect a lot from us, regardless of what happened in recent tournaments or years and years ago. People talk a lot – and I think you do have to take it personally a little bit. Sometimes it doesn’t go well and sometimes it feels like there’s a bit of a pile-on.

“It’s not nice to hear – but you can always use it. After moments like that, it’s always nice to throw something back to some people, I suppose. Playing for England is an enjoyable feeling but there’s also a lot of pressure because you hear people talk a lot of rubbish.”

The goal celebration and subsequent reaction has created something of a divide between Bellingham and the England fans. He is accused of being arrogant and unpleasant; as mentioned, he clearly knows his role in this team and thrives off it. But arrogance can be a good thing; it doesn’t interfere with his game, nor his relationship to his teammates. Bellingham is a personable, intelligent person, well beyond his years, not dissimilar to how he is as a player. Footballers are often criticised for not showing personality; they shouldn’t then be lambasted for doing so.

There is definitely an argument to say England shouldn’t be commenting on the noise. They haven’t played well, and this is a team that should be ready to finally win a major tournament. The best thing about the Southgate era is that England haven’t been pinned down by the same gripes and negativity as previous sides; there was an innocent likability about that them that hasn’t been there so far this summer.

But Bellingham is the key to any success, now and in the future. We’ve seen this happen with Wayne Rooney; at Euro 2004, he had the world at his feet, he was the leader at 18. By 2010, when the expectation was there, he was screaming down the camera at fans’ reactions to the teams’ performances.

Bellingham is a rarity; he’s a player who can handle England’s expectation, and drive them on to compete with anyone. Bitterness and infighting between players and fans have undercut previous eras. Now is the time to learn and take a different path. Bellingham must be backed.