Groans could be heard in the stands as Jude Bellingham trotted onto the Allianz Arena pitch in an early England squad changeover.
Supporters down here in Bavaria may not know too much about Kalvin Phillips, but it’s a whole different story from Bellingham.
So it came as no surprise that when Phillips struggled in the 14th minute, Jude Bellingham was awarded his 14th senior cap.
On a night when England secured a draw thanks to a Harry Kane penalty, the Germans will not have looked too jealously at our side, although Bellingham will have been one of the obvious exceptions.
Bellingham, as they say on social media, is a real player.
Having made 90 appearances for Dortmund in his first two seasons at the club, he would have absolutely savored the chance to impress on hostile soil.
Just six weeks earlier, he was on the wrong end of the road in a 3-1 defeat.
Ultimately, it was a decent performance from Bellingham, if a bit rough around the edges.
If Phillips is sidelined from the next two games against Italy and Hungary in Wolverhampton through injury, Bellingham has a serious chance of asserting his claim to a World Cup spot.
For now, with Gareth Southgate as he has proven over the years, he remains a fiercely loyal coach, just on the fringe of the starting XI.
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In his pre-game press conference, unlike most other first-team hopefuls, Southgate made a point of checking Bellingham by name.
But here’s a precocious talent that could potentially give England an extra advantage in these group games against Iran, the United States and Wales and perhaps even be THE story of the tournament.
There is no doubt that Bellingham and Declan Rice will form the country’s central midfield axis for the next decade.
Bellingham put in a better performance than the 1-0 defeat by Hungary. He got a full 90 minutes in Budapest but was guilty of trying a bit too hard.
This versatile player clearly believes he should be starting out at this England side.
Bellingham certainly didn’t impress like 19-year-old Jamal Musiala, the former England youth player who received a standing ovation when he was substituted midway through the second half.
Despite this, Bellingham once again proved that he can move around the pitch much more effectively than Phillips.
He robbed Nico Schlotterbeck to create an early chance for Harry Kane while also deflecting a goal-bound long-range shot to the corner.
There were times, like Saturday, when Bellingham lost the ball trying to create something out of thin air.
This is something that will disappear from his game.
Bellingham extended a leg to win the ball and create a good chance for Mason Mount, capturing a few other opportunities as well.
The ex-Birmingham ace has already decided he will stay in Germany for another year, especially as Dortmund have already sold Erling Haaland to Manchester City.
But in 12 months, here’s a player who could be on the way to the Premier League, with Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp a big fan. He is also wanted by Real Madrid.
It’s easy to forget how young this player is.
Bellingham made his England debut against Ireland in November 2020 aged 17 and four months.
And he won’t be celebrating his 19th birthday until later this month.
Compare that to Frank Lampard, Paul Gascoigne and David Beckham, who oddly all made their debuts at the age of 21 and three months.
Bryan Robson was 23, Paul Scholes was 22 and six months old, while Steven Gerrard was 20 years old.
Like all of these, Bellingham has the tools to be a great Englishman. But the question for Southgate is whether the World Cup is coming too soon.
The answer could lie with Molineux in the next two games.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/football/premier-league/5512764/england-verdict-jude-bellingham-germany/ Jude Bellingham has all the makings of becoming a Three Lions legend, but the 2022 World Cup may come too soon