Jude Bellingham ready to be playing the biggest games for England, says Jordan Henderson

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Jordan Henderson says Jude Bellingham is ready to be playing in the biggest games for England and has backed the teenager to have “a big influence” at the Qatar World Cup.

Bellingham put in another eye-catching display as England routed Andorra 4-0 on Sunday to maintain their 100 per cent record in qualifying for next winter’s tournament.

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder made three appearances at the European Championship as a second-half substitute after making his full international debut in the warm-up match against Austria.

Henderson, who started alongside the 18-year-old at Wembley on Sunday, was asked if he could have a significant impact at the finals.

“Yeah, I think he could to be honest,” said the England vice-captain.

“He looks ready to me, even at such a young age. He looks ready to be playing in the big games.

“I watch him for Dortmund as well and I think the way he performs there is outstanding. Against Andorra, he really showed what he can bring, so in over a year down the line, he is only going to get better and so would look to have a big influence at the World Cup to be sure.

 (AP)
(AP)

“I am a big fan of Jude, I think he looks a fantastic player. For somebody of such a young age, he shows real maturity both on and off the field.

“You can see how hungry he is to be a top player and he has all the attributes to do that. It was a pleasure to play along side him and Trent [Alexander-Arnold] on Sunday and just to try to help them cope.

“But to be honest, he is top player as he has shown for Dortmund and I have seen him go from strength to strength over time.”

England suffered from a familiar failure to keep the ball and control the tempo as they suffered a heartbreaking defeat by Italy in the Euro 2020 Final in July, and Bellingham has been touted as a potential solution to their possession problem.

He has already starred in the Bundesliga and Champions League for Dortmund, and has caught the eye in each of his eight appearances for England.

Henderson says his maturity is unusual but believes England have a number of huge prospects, including his Liverpool team-mate Harvey Elliott, who has broken into the first-team this season.

 (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
(Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

“[Jude’s maturity] is rare, but at the same time there are a lot of young players who really do play with that maturity,” Henderson said.

“If you look at Trent at that age, or what Raheem [Sterling] was doing at that age. Harvey, the way he plays the game is very mature and I think there are some fantastic prospects.”

Bellingham’s breakthrough has increased competition for Henderson’s place, with the 31-year-old having fallen behind Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips in the England pecking order and expected to return to the bench for Wednesday’s qualifier in Poland.

Henderson says he is still working his way back to his best after missing three months of last season with a groin injury.

He said: “Unfortunately, I am coming back from a big injury in the summer, so I probably was not 100 per cent. But I have done well to take part and contribute to the team in the tournament. Since then, I have only started a handful of games over the past few weeks, so I am still trying to get to that top level where I was before I got injured.”

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