‘I almost don’t want to big him up too much!’: Jordan Henderson is wary of piling the pressure on Jude Bellingham… but backs the ‘amazing’ Dortmund midfielder to play a ‘big part’ for England at Qatar World Cup
- Jordan Henderson is trying not to put too much pressure on Jude Bellingham
- The young Borussia Dortmund midfielder stood out for England in recent games
- Bellingham is expected to play a key role for the Three Lions in Qatar this winter
- Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates
Jordan Henderson is tipping Jude Bellingham to ‘have a big part to play’ for England in Qatar this winter – but is wary of burying the Borussia Dortmund star under the pressure.
Bellingham, 19, was a rare highlight for England in an international break that saw them relegated from their Nations League group after defeat to Italy and then held at Wembley by Germany.
Bellingham’s ascendancy in the past 12 months has seem him appear to solidify a central role in Gareth Southgate’s plans but Henderson, who has been acting as a mentor to the teenager, wants to ensure Bellingham is not burdened by weight of expectation.
Jordan Henderson (right) is wary of burying Jude Bellingham (left) under weight of expectation
The 19-year-old was man of the match at Wembley and looks set for a World Cup starting spot
‘I like Jude, I think he’s an amazing player,’ Henderson told the Mirror, speaking at a McDonald’s Fun Football event in Liverpool.
‘He’s a fantastic professional and his mentality is really key for his development.
‘I almost don’t want to big him up too much because he’s still a young lad! There will be a lot of pressure on him at a young age, but of course he’s a top, top player, and I’m sure he’ll have a big part to play in Qatar.’
With Kalvin Phillips hampered through injury, Bellingham now appears a nailed on selection alongside Declan Rice for England’s World Cup opener against Iran on November 21.
Bellingham was England’s best player in Monday night’s thrilling 3-3 draw with Germany
The 19-year-old has almost certainly worked his way into Gareth Southgate’s starting team
‘Every time I play with Jude, we’re building that connection and I say to him: “You go and bomb on and do your attacking stuff and I’ll sit here and defend for you”.
‘So we’re getting that good connection, he’s great to play with,’ Rice said after the 3-3 draw with Germany.
‘Hopefully, he keeps flourishing. He’s the future of English football to come for the next 15 years.’
Rice added: ‘He’s a man – you can see it when he plays for Dortmund. As a 19-year-old, you’re normally scared to talk to the referee but he’s in the referee’s face demanding answers, demanding decisions and he leaves himself on the pitch constantly.
Declan Rice and Bellingham are starting to form a positive partnership in the centre of midfield
‘He really pushes you on the pitch. We push each other on and it’s a privilege to play next to him.’
Bellingham has already featured in 144 games at domestic club level and has got 17 senior England caps and counting.
He started both games against Italy and Germany and he can offer so much dynamism in the centre of the park, which has caught the eye of Henderson and Rice.
In the Bundesliga so far this season he ranks first overall in duels won, take-ons completed and possession won in the middle third.
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