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Jude Bellingham: Profile of 16 year old wonderkid in the Championship

Jude Bellingham. Chances are if you haven’t watched the Championship this season, you wouldn’t have heard of the name. Until the last 2 weeks where at just 16 years old, the midfielder is being linked with a multi-million move to Manchester United. 16 years old. The guy probably only did his GCSEs last May and he could be off to the Premier League!

Jokes aside, the Birmingham City youth product has burst onto the scene in 2019/20. Coming through the Blues’ academy, Bellingham’s astronomical rise to the first team was apparent from early on. Debuting for the Under 23s at 15 years old and going with the first team squad during pre-season. Now, he comfortably starts week in week out, in one of the world’s most competitive leagues. Calling him an exciting prospect would be an understatement.

Jude Bellingham in action for Birmingham City

24 appearances in the second tier with 4 goals and an assist for a player that still can’t sign a professional contract because of his age! Bellingham is truly rising to prominence fast. It’s therefore no surprise the big clubs are sniffing around. Sky Sports have just reported Manchester United are willing to in excess of £30 million for him. Absolutely ridiculous sums of money. But it’s the modern day inflated transfer market, so I’m getting less surprised by the day.

So if you haven’t watched the Championship, you must be wondering why Jude Bellingham is so sought after. I’ll give you the run down:

Jude Bellingham – Style of Play

After watching this highlight reel of the England U17 international, you realise he’s a special player. Yes everyone looks good on a highlight reel. But this feels different. 16 YEARS OLD. That’s all I have to say.

“He has been watched since he was 13 or 14. For the Middlesbrough game, half of Europe was here. He is used to it.”

Birmingham City manager Pep Clotet on Bellingham’s future

Bellingham looks like a very technically sound and smooth player on the ball. The fast footwork coupled with how easily drops the shoulder on multiple occasions in the video highlights how comfortable he is on the dribble. 1 dribble per game from midfield is very decent and the run he makes in the clips are always progressive but also not wasteful.

0.5 key passes per game aren’t a reflection of his creativity. The clips show how the West Midlands born midfielder is often playing intelligent passes through to teammates. Switching play, in-swinging crosses or well-placed cut backs. From an attacking point of view, he’s a huge threat for the opposition.

What strikes me about the midfielder is his confidence. You often see young players not trying to give the ball away or just avoiding making mistakes. I don’t see that at all with Bellingham. Taking on players one on one, not shying away from challenges, willing to test the keeper from distance. That’s the mentality that speaks volumes about the ceiling people think he has.

More on challenges, defensively too, he looks good. Averaging an outstanding 2.2 tackles per game in the Championship, he isn’t afraid to get stuck in. When he does too, it comes off. Bellingham uses his body well too, shielding the ball and swivelling to create space with ease. At 16 years old, it’s surprising how hard he is to push off the ball. He has plenty of time to develop too, physically and technically. Frightening how high the Birmingham centre midfielder’s potential is.

Worth all the hype?

Jude Bellingham in action for Birmingham City against Leeds

£30 million. You’d say at such a young age with just over half a season under his belt, that’s far too much. But with the number of clubs interested and how he’s burst onto the scene, I think that’s the only price that would make Birmingham City budge on Jude Bellingham. It’s also the going rate in today’s market, so I’m not surprised anymore. He’s a special talent, that’s for sure. If he gets loaned back to the Championship for at least another season, it could be shrewd signing by United. A signing that would make fans believe they’re building for the future.

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