As the dust settled on the Champions League quarter-finals, German side Dortmund were left reflecting on what might have been after losing to Manchester City
Pep Guardiola’s side took a 4-2 aggregate win, triumphing 2-1 in both legs, with young Phil Foden excelling in both matches. He is sure to feature for a youthful England in Euro 2020 this summer, but as Dortmund exited the Champions League, one of their young stars could also be ready to make a huge impact.Jude Bellingham
is just 17 and moved to Dortmund from Birmingham City last season after just four goals in 44 outings for the Blues. Since linking up with Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho, he has become something of a hit in the Bundesliga, and his consolation goal against Man City signalled his arrival on the Champions League stage.
That leaves England manager Gareth Southgate in a bit of a quandary. He is already under fire for leaving Trent Alexander-Arnold out of his last squad, and he may be hit with more controversy involving a Liverpool star. If he chooses to pick Jordan Henderson for his European Championship squad, then Bellingham may miss out. Should England be looking to the future, evolving the squad ahead of the Qatar World Cup next year? One former England international defendercertainly thinks so
"It's remarkable. There's not another English midfielder playing at this level,” was the reaction of Joleon Lescott, who earned 26 England caps during his career. That’s a view shared by another former England midfield, Owen Hargreaves. Hargreaves took a similar route into the international set-up, making his name with Bayern Munich in Germany before appearing 42 times for his country, and he feels the 17-year-old should be a starter.
"I think Bellingham will start for Gareth at the Euros," Hargreaves told BT Sport after the encounter. "His all-around game is so good; he plays like a grown man. He's already a star and he's going to be one of the best in a short time. Bellingham has got the lot, he's special. He gives you a bit more power in the midfield."
It is a great selection headache for Southgate, who saw his team register three comfortable wins in the final international games before the tournament warm-ups begin. Euro 2020 is just around the corner, and England head into it with one of the strongest squads for many years. They are ranked as favourites to win the tournament in the latestEuro 2020 winner odds
, ahead of World Champions France and the likes of Spain, Germany and Italy. There is clear reason too: the likes of Bellingham, Sancho and Foden are joined by Man Utd duo Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood as well as Chelsea’s Mason Mount and Reece James. The youthful edge to the squad not only increases the chances of success in the Euros but also bodes well for the future.
Jude Bellingham might only be on the fringes of the England squad with two caps to his name, but his display against Manchester City, which some suggested might have been Man of the Match quality, underlined exactly what his core attributes are. There is only so long that Southgate can rely on the old guard before ushering in the new age, and this summer seems like a great time to unleash England’s young guns on the big stage.