Football Features

“Greatness in the making” – England’s Golden Child Jude Bellingham shines as Borussia Dortmund beat Besiktas

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 20:07, 15 September 2021

In an exciting evening of football, Borussia Dortmund got their Champions League campaign underway with a big win over Besiktas.

Erling Haaland got on the scoresheet, his 66th goal in 66 games for Dortmund and his 21st overall in the Champions League. Haaland is the fastest player to score 21 goals in the Champions League era, needing just 17 games to do it. Even fellow prodigy Kylian Mbappé took 40 games to hit this milestone, Haaland really is incredible.

But tonight he wasn’t the best player in Dortmund yellow… neon? volt? Whatever the colour, and as good as Haaland was in his usually ridiculous way, the best player on the pitch was actually someone younger than the 21 year-old, it was the teenaged Jude Bellingham.

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Bellingham joined BVB last summer at the age of 17 and left such a huge impression on hometown club Birmingham that they retired their no. 22 in his honour. That seemed ridiculous at the time, but watching how quickly the youngster is ascending the rungs of the footballing ladder it may end up being quite prescient.

Bellingham was outrageously good against Besiktas, stepping into the role of Haaland’s running mate in the BVB attack. That role was vacated by Jadon Sancho this summer and yet Bellingham is able to impact the game in a similar fashion.

Remember that Bellingham is actually a midfielder by trade, but such is his versatility that manager Marco Rose was comfortable playing him as a “winger” in a 4-2-3-1. Bellingham adapted to this role instantly and with ease.

He broke the game open 20 minutes in when he raced onto a neat Thomas Meunier pass and controlled it with one touch and then, despite it sitting up a bit, smacked it home between the goalkeepers legs with an unerring finish. The kind of finish a striker like Haaland would be proud of, in all honesty.

And then in the dying seconds of the first-half, Bellingham found himself on the left flank. Instead of being cautious, of playing with caution like you’d maybe expect from such a youngster, he ran at the Besiktas defenders. Just straight-up took the ball and ran into the box, beating defenders with outrageous body feints and then still having the awareness to look up and slip the ball across goal for Haaland to bag his goal.

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As if his goalscoring wasn’t ridiculous enough, he also got stuck in defensively with 3 tackles and 2 clearances. All told, Bellingham won the ball back for Dortmund 7 times which only two players could better. And remember, those players weren’t running the show in attack!

It’s honestly ridiculous how good Bellingham is and how much better he can become. The clamour for Gareth Southgate to play him at Euro 2020 wasn’t all that feverish but if the kid keeps playing like this then if he isn’t in the England starting XI by the time the World Cup rolls around, it’ll be a relentless cry for him to be included.

Jude Victor William Bellingham from Stourbridge is The Golden Child of English football. If you need more convincing after tonight, then you’ll never be a true believer because if you saw him tonight, you saw greatness in the making.