CHRIS SUTTON: Jude Bellingham's awareness sets him apart from others

CHRIS SUTTON: Special Jude Bellingham makes superb decisions in a split second. It’s his awareness that sets him apart from others – he is arguably the BEST midfielder at this World Cup

  • England beat Senegal 3-0 to book their place in the World Cup quarter-finals 
  • Jude Bellingham dazzled again, having a key role in England’s first two goals
  • When Birmingham retired his No 22 shirt, Bellingham’s former club were mocked
  • But no one is laughing now – we can all see that Bellingham is something special 
  • His awareness and ability to make the right decisions in a split second is special
  • Bellingham is one of, if not the best midfielder playing at this World Cup 
  • Click here for the latest World Cup 2022 news, fixtures, live action and results

Jude Bellingham continues to impress for England at this World Cup, with the Borussia Dortmund midfielder putting in another supreme display during England’s 3-0 win over Senegal in the Round of 16.

In light of that, Sportsmail’s Chris Sutton explains what makes England’s next great footballing hope so special and why he is backing Bellingham to reach the very top.

When Birmingham City retired the No 22 shirt in honour of Jude Bellingham in July 2020, the Championship club were mocked.

‘This is one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever seen in football,’ said one supporter on social media. ‘The game’s gone mad,’ said another. ‘Tinpot,’ another.

No one is laughing now. Birmingham saw something special in this teenage midfielder. Now we’re all seeing it, and England’s second goal against Senegal epitomised what Bellingham is about. He was originally eight yards from his own goal when Ismail Jakobs’ cross bounced out to Pathe Ciss.

When Birmingham City retired the No 22 shirt in honour of Jude Bellingham, they were mocked

But everyone can now see what a special player Bellingham is as he shines for England

Yet he immediately sprinted forward. Bellingham was banking on Ciss’s touch being poor — and it was. He won possession and the breakaway was on.

We all love that picture of a group of Belgium players fronting up to Diego Maradona and on Sunday night Bellingham was similarly surrounded by Senegal shirts.

He had a marker either side of him, one behind and another in front. Yet after breezing by Youssouf Sabaly, he picked the perfect pass and played in Phil Foden so that he could find Harry Kane. Just like that, England’s passage to the World Cup quarter-finals was guaranteed.

Bellingham’s awareness in those split-second moments sets him apart from others, making him one of the best midfielders at this World Cup, if not the best

It is Bellingham’s awareness in those split-second moments which sets him apart from others, making him one of the best midfielders at this World Cup, if not the best.

At the start of this tournament, Sportsmail asked me to make predictions. I said France would win the World Cup (they might), Kylian Mbappe would turn this into his tournament (he is), England would exit at the quarter-finals (I hope not), and when asked which player I couldn’t wait to watch, I named Bellingham.

‘We’re expecting big performances from him for England, despite his tender age of 19,’ I wrote.

He’s delivered exactly what we wanted from him, and never more so than in Sunday night’s 3-0 win over Senegal.

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