Phil Foden: Jude Bellingham can be ‘best midfielder in the world’ after World Cup display in England’s Senegal win


Jude Bellingham can be the “best midfielder in the world” according to England team-mate Phil Foden.

Bellingham was, once again, excellent in England’s midfield as Gareth Southgate’s side cruised to a 3-0 victory over Senegal to claim their place in the quarter-finals of the Qatar World Cup.

The teenager grabbed an assist for Jordan Henderson, who was on hand to finish emphatically from close range following a superb sweeping move in the 38th minute.

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It was the first time a teenager has assisted in a World Cup knockout stage game for England since 1966.

Bellingham was also instrumental in England’s second goal. After winning back possession, he drove forward before picking out Foden, who played in Kane and he slotted home.

“I don’t want to big him up too much because he is still young but he’s one of the most gifted players I have ever seen,” said Foden, who also contributed with an assist for Bukayo Saka.

“He has no weakness in his game. I think he will be the best midfielder in the world.”

Bellingham lit up the Al Bayt Stadium with a 91 per cent pass completion rate before he was replaced by Mason Mount in the 76th minute, and his performance didn’t go unnoticed by ITV pundit Roy Keane.

“He’s going to be a superstar that kid, the word we keep saying, maturity, it’s like he’s played 100 times for England,” the former Manchester United midfielder said.

“When it’s a bit tight you need a midfielder to run and produce a bit of magic, and that’s what Bellingham did there. Brilliant.

“This is what you want from a midfielder, powerful, strong, anticipation, a little bit of luck but it’s game over.”

Keane added: “I’ve not seen a young midfielder perform like that for years. You usually see it from a world-class player who’s 26, 27. Everything he does in the game. We talk about what goes on in his brain.

“He’s got that maturity, his decision-making, what’s going on upstairs – it’s huge for a midfielder. End product, final pass, the kid has everything.”

Gary Neville said it is “very rare” to see a midfield player as comfortable in his own half as in the attacking half.

“He looks like he can do absolutely everything,” Neville continued.

“Is he a holding player, an attacking player? He’s everything in one.

“Physically he’s fantastic, so young but it’s the composure, maturity and fearlessness I can’t get my head around.

“I watched players play for England for many years, the weight of the shirt was enormous. He just doesn’t feel it at all, he looks like he belongs out there, like he wants it and needs it in his life.”

Former England striker Gary Lineker also lavished praise on the 19-year-old.

Lineker tweeted: “Goodness me, Jude Bellingham is unbelievably good. He’s the leader in this team. His parents must be so proud. Love him.”

Meanwhile, Foden admitted that England are “buzzing about the result”.

“We’re going to celebrate tonight,” he told ITV.

“It’s knockout football now, we’re going to have to recover and think about our next opponent which is going to be really tough.”

England will be back at Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday where they will meet defending champions France, who advanced earlier in the day thanks to a 3-1 win over Poland.

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To celebrate the 2022 World Cup, we have launched our new bracket game, where you can give your predictions, challenge friends and create mini-leagues

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