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Published 26 March 2023 5 min read
England Men's Senior Team

Bellingham: 'I’m like a sponge at the minute, I just want to take everything in'

Written by:

Frank Smith

Jude Bellingham and Gareth Southgate discuss England's 2-0 win over Ukraine

Jude Bellingham believes his England team-mates are helping him develop into the player he has always wanted to become after another impressive showing during today’s 2-0 win over Ukraine.

Bellingham has spoken in the past of wearing the number 22 because he wants to be someone capable of playing as a number six, number eight and a number ten.

The classy midfielder is already captain at Dortmund and has become an integral part of an England squad which has a host of experienced players to help with his development.

Bellingham said: “[Two wins from two] is all we asked for in the camp. It was important we followed on that result in midweek with another tonight – it was a short turnaround and you’ve got to take in information quickly, and the boys did really well with that.

“I think there’s so much I’ve got to learn – the way I want to be as a midfielder is to be able to win you the game at both ends of the pitch. 

“I want to dominate the ball as a six, an eight and as a 10 to create chances as well. 

“I‘ve always wanted to be someone who can do a bit of everything and I think I still have so much to learn.

“I have the best chance with the guys in that dressing room, and the ones I‘ve got at Dortmund – so I’m like a sponge at the minute. I just want to take everything in.

“When I’m playing, I’m thinking about a million different things about how I can be better.”

England named a strong and experienced starting XI against Ukraine
England named a strong and experienced starting XI against Ukraine

Bellingham said he is ‘loving it’ with England and praised the squad’s ‘really good atmosphere in the changing room’.

His head coach, Gareth Southgate, also highlighted the importance of backing up Thursday’s 2-1 win over Italy and was glad he could provide well-earned game time to James Maddison and Ivan Toney.

Southgate said: "The risk is that when you have control of the game you have the odd sloppy pass but the application throughout was excellent.

"We have broken down a lot of barriers over a period of time. We still had that question mark over some of the bigger teams.

"We are starting to win those games now but there is still lots of room for improvement.

"To back up the Italy result was important but there is still room to grow.

"We are always trying to think about now and what is next. We did that with James Maddison today. We thought it was a good game to see him. He was defensively very solid. It was nice to get Ivan Toney on the pitch as well. We will always look at people but we have to qualify and we can't take that for granted."

Ben Chilwell was among three changes to England's starting line-up
Ben Chilwell was among three changes to England's starting line-up

Bellingham is another player who had to bide his time before becoming an England regular but he has been widely tipped to become England captain one day.

But with so many club captains in the squad, namely Kane, Jordan Henderson, Harry Maguire and Declan Rice, Bellingham says he is just looking to learn from his England team-mates.

Bellingham said: “[Captaining England] would be the biggest dream. It’s the biggest honour in football to captain your country, especially when you play for a nation like England. 

“At the minute, obviously there’s a long pecking order that’s highly respected. In the meantime, it’s all about picking up from those guys in terms of leadership.

“I’m just trying to learn all the time, and this is the best place to do it.”

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