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Published 26 March 2024 6 min read
England Men's Senior Team

Jude Bellingham: 'This will stand us in good stead ahead of EURO 2024'

Written by:

Frank Smith

Midfielder Jude Bellingham reflects on England versus Belgium

Jude Bellingham stressed the importance of retaining perspective and believes England's two tough games against Brazil and Belgium will stand the Three Lions in good stead heading into UEFA EURO 2024 this summer.

England faced the sides fourth and fifth in the world in the space of four days at Wembley Stadium as they prepare for the tournament in Germany.

The Three Lions lost 1-0 to Brazil on Saturday and needed a late Bellingham equaliser to draw 2-2 with Belgium on Tuesday night in the Alzheimer's Society International but the midfielder was keen to highlight the much-changed look of his side due to a catalogue of injuries.

Bellingham said: "I liked [my equaliser] because I knew the rubbish we would've got if we had lost two games on the bounce.

“With these games, you have to keep perspective in mind because a lot of these lads are making debuts and a lot of these lads I have never played with before.

“We created a lot of chances. I had the one I should have scored and a couple of other chances. I am happy that I could make it up to the team.

"We should be winning with all the chance we've made – myself, Phil [Foden], Kobbie [Mainoo] – we all had chances.

“But these are two games that will stand us in good stead going into the EUROs. I know people will be negative about it but we have to use the positives and learn from the negatives. We will be fine.”

Jude Bellingham celebrates his goal late on against Belgium
Jude Bellingham celebrates his goal late on against Belgium

Gareth Southgate was without a host of his most established players for the double-header.

Captain Harry Kane, experienced campaigners Jordan Henderson and Kieran Trippier, influential forward Bukayo Saka and talented full-backs Luke Shaw, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James were just some of those who missed the games.

Stand-in skippers Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker then added their names to the absentee list following the weekend’s match and John Stones was forced to withdraw early into Tuesday’s game.

But the injuries did provide opportunities for other players, with Anthony Gordon, Ezri Konza and Kobbie Mainoo all making their debuts on Saturday, with the latter pair starting on Tuesday against Belgium.

And Bellingham said: "You trust everyone that comes into the squad and they are all in there because they are good players. So we trust everyone who comes in.

“People need to realise how hard a job it is for the gaffer because you plan this size of games because you expect a fit team and you expect to give it a really good crack.

“The skipper is injured, Bukayo is injured, Hendo, Maguire, Walks, Stonesy… so it was a really difficult one for us.

“I'm sure the manager will be happy with the players he got to see because they came in and did brilliantly.

“Over the two games, I am pleased with my team-mates. Of course, you are never happy with a loss or a draw but we have to be pleased with how we played."

Kobbie Mainoo impressed against Belgium despite being just 18 years old
Kobbie Mainoo impressed against Belgium despite being just 18 years old

After coming on as a second-half substitute against Brazil, 18-year-old Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo was handed his first senior start against Belgium.

A year ago, the teenager was a substitute for England MU19s against Hungary, yet tonight he started for the senior team at Wembley Stadium, having not played a game for the Under-20s or Under-21s.

Bellingham knows all about being a talented teenager thrust into the spotlight at a young age and said: "He was good tonight. It's difficult. I'm speaking like the old head but I know how hard it is when there's a clamour [for him to be picked] and people put a lot of pressure on you so I don’t want to add fuel to the fire.

“But he is definitely a brilliant player and he will have an amazing future for Manchester United and hopefully for England too.”

Report: England 2-2 Belgium