Who is Jude Bellingham? Stats, position and profile of Manchester United and Barcelona transfer target
Jan. 24, 2020
Manchester United are willing to pay in excess of £30million for Birmingham City’s rising star, Jude Bellingham.
The 20-time league champions are yet to make any signings this transfer window and at the age of 16, Bellingham – who was nine years old the last time United lifted the title – could fill the void in their midfield for many years to come.
The teenager has earned rave reviews in his 25 appearances for Birmingham this season which has attracted interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Don’t know much about him? Well talkSPORT.com is on hand to tell you more…
Who is he?
Bellingham joined Birmingham City as an Under-8, but didn’t make his debut for their under-23 team until the age of 15 in a game against Nottingham Forest’s U23s in October 2018.
He was brought on an hour into the game and scored the only goal of the game in the 87th minute.
By March 2019 he had scored three goals in ten appearances for Birmingham development squads and was subsequently named in the first-team squad for their visit to West Brom on March 29 2019.
In July 2019 he signed a two-year scholarship with Birmingham City worth £145-a-week and also travelled with the first-team on their pre-season tour in Portugal.
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Ahead of the 2019/20 season he was given the number 22 shirt and on August 6, he became the clubs youngest ever first-team player at the age of 16 years, 38 days, beating the previous record of 16 years, 139 days set by Trevor Francis in 1970.
On breaking Francis’ record, Bellingham admitted it took some time to sink in.
“I’m still trying to get my head around it,” he beamed.
“The amount of great players that have played for the club, especially Trevor Francis obviously setting the record in the first place, beating that is a huge honour and I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to do so.”
He made his home debut on August 31, replacing the injured Jefferson Montero after an hour and then scored the winning goal as the Blues came from 1-0 down to beat Stoke 2-1. In doing so he became Birmingham’s youngest ever goal scorer.
Bellingham admitted he knew he would be playing after going through the team and shape the day before in training.
“I tried not to think about it [the night before] but I couldn’t help myself, not being nervous but so excited just making sure the basics and fundamentals were on point, where I was for set-pieces, my role, when we get the ball out of possession, just trying to nail that in my head so I could do it out on the pitch.
“There were butterflies, especially when we got there on the day of the match, my stomach felt really really full of butterflies.”
Two weeks later Bellingham started against Charlton at The Valley and netted the winner in a 1-0 victory before being voted EFL Young Player of the Month for November 2019.
At international level he has represented England at U15, U16 and U17 where he has captained the side as well as making ten appearances, scoring six goals and got his first taste of silver ware as England U17s won the Syrenka Cup.
Style of play
Bellingham has all the ingredients to play in the centre of the pitch but has also been deployed at left and right midfield.
He glides around the pitch and can leave opponents chasing his shadow without appearing to change stride and is rarely, if ever, knocked off the ball.
He possesses an assured touch and can pick a pass, time a run as well as having an eye for goal.
Birmingham manager Pep Clotet was full of praise for the youngster.
Speaking in October, he said: “He can go forward, he can defend, he is very complete and despite being only 16 he handles the physicality of the midfield very well.
“The only difference between a player who is 16 and a player that has a lot of years as a pro is the way they handle the load.
“He’s handling it very well at the moment and he’s a strong player so I don’t see why he can’t hack it.”
What has been said?
Birmingham are under pressure to sell, having been docked nine points last season for breaking profit and sustainability rules and Blues boss Clotet is not surprised eyes are on the young star.
He said: “We are aware he is being watched, he has been watched since he was 13 or 14.
“For the Middlesbrough game half of Europe was here, he is used to it and I am used to it.
“I have always said it is very good that clubs show interest in our players because this means that we have good players.”