AP

Believe the hype, Bellingham is lighting up the World Cup

Dec 4, 2022, 1:31 PM | Updated: Dec 5, 2022, 3:37 am

England's Jude Bellingham reacts at the end of the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Engla...

England's Jude Bellingham reacts at the end of the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between England and Senegal, at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

(AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Jordan Henderson knew exactly who to thank after opening the scoring in England’s 3-0 win against Senegal at the World Cup.

Pointing a finger in the direction of Jude Bellingham, Henderson charged over to his teammate, pressed his face nose-to-nose with the teenager and stared intensely into his eyes before embracing him in celebration.

With England fans going wild inside Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday, Henderson continued to gesture that Bellingham was the one deserving of their adulation after his run and cross had created the goal.

“Incredible, I can’t keep saying nice things about him,” said Henderson, Liverpool’s Champions League and Premier League-winning captain.

Praise for Bellingham, who plays for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, poured in on social media.

“Goodness me, @BellinghamJude is unbelievably good. He’s the leader in this team. His parents must be so proud. Love him,” England great Gary Lineker wrote on Twitter.

At 19 years old Bellingham is emerging as the heartbeat of the England team. So much so that even 32-year-old Henderson, who has won club soccer’s biggest prizes with Liverpool and was awarded an MBE — Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire — by the late Queen Elizabeth II, is in awe of his talent.

The same goes for England captain Harry Kane.

“He’s a fantastic player, has everything with and without the ball,” said Kane, who scored his first goal of this World Cup against Senegal after another driving run from the Borussia Dortmund midfielder.

As soon Bellingham flipped the switch, it was lights out for Senegal, who had created the better chances before Henderson’s goal.

His speed, energy and intelligence saw him dominate midfield and further enhance his soaring reputation.

His performances are sure to have been noted by defending champions France, who England meets in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Bellingham was already set to spark an auction among Europe’s biggest clubs next summer, with Dortmund widely expected to sell to the highest bidder. And his displays at the World Cup so far should only increase competition for his services.

Manchester United has tried and failed to sign him once already, while Man City manager Pep Guardiola is a confirmed admirer.

Liverpool has repeatedly been linked with a move for him.

“He’s going to be a superstar that kid,” said former United midfielder Roy Keane. “I’ve not seen a young midfielder perform like that for years.”

Praise does not come much higher than that in British soccer’s circles.

Keane captained United’s dominant team of the 1990s and early 2000s. He is also known for his cutting commentary since moving into the world of broadcasting.

But Bellingham, it seems, is a unifying force when it comes to appreciating a talent that was evident from the age of 16 when he broke into Birmingham’s first team and prompted United and others to try to lock him down.

He chose Dortmund instead, which was a less glamorous option, but has given him room to blossom.

“I don’t think we could have predicted how quickly he would mature,” said England coach Gareth Southgate. “Even in the last six months that has gone to another level or even the last three months.”

Bellingham became England’s second youngest scorer at a World Cup, behind Michael Owen, with his headed goal in his country’s opening 6-2 rout of Iran.

He’s now its youngest ever player to provide an assist at the tournament after setting up Henderson.

“I think the view we’ve always taken is we’ve wanted to invest in young players on the basis that they could be something special in the future,” added Southgate.

That investment, just like Bellingham, is maturing nicely.

___

James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

___

AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Believe the hype, Bellingham is lighting up the World Cup