Jude Bellingham’s Explosive Real Madrid Start

by Sarah C. Burdett

The “Bellingham burst” is a catchy phrase. Almost half an hour into the game at Wembley, the crowd was starting to get restless. England’s defenders were just passing the ball around without much action, and Italy, who seemed ready to be pushed around at first, now had the upper hand and looked confident. This Italian team wasn’t as strong as some from the past, but they had tricked England into playing slow and unexciting.

Luckily for England, Jude Bellingham’s talent made a big difference. Right away, Bellingham went on a run that broke through Italy’s defense and earned a penalty after a tough fight for the ball with Giovanni Di Lorenzo. This moment changed the game for the better. It was a move that legendary player Bryan Robson would be proud of, and it wasn’t Bellingham’s last impressive play of the game. England will play in Euro 2024, which was pretty much expected, and their team showed enough promise to get fans excited about what Real Madrid’s new star, Bellingham, can do in the tournament.

Southgate was pleased with how his starting team performed against Scotland last month, except for the center-backs. He may add Bukayo Saka and possibly Luke Shaw if they’re ready. It seemed like a lineup specifically chosen for important games: a mix of bravery and skill to handle tough challenges next summer.

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Italy had given England a tough time in their last match at Wembley, and for Southgate’s team, only winning against Germany can erase the memories of that defeat. Wembley was loud and chaotic that day, a scene Kyle Walker said felt different leading up to this game. Many people focused on the negatives and took England’s consistent performances for granted.

Southgate values players who fit well into his system, regardless of their club form. Just over a week ago, Kalvin Phillips, not even in Manchester City’s lineup, was warming up on the sidelines at Emirates Stadium. Now, he played a crucial role alongside Declan Rice, like in the final match that didn’t go well. This time, Bellingham, who didn’t play then, was given more freedom to attack. Every creative player needs support.

When Phillips received an early yellow card for a messy challenge on Davide Frattesi, England’s defense seemed vulnerable. Italy took advantage of gaps in England’s back line, especially after Gianluca Scamacca scored a well-taken goal. Even after Bellingham’s impressive response, Italy continued to create chances and could have gone ahead again if Destiny Udogie had beaten Jordan Pickford before halftime. However, Bellingham’s impact was just beginning. England’s second goal was a masterpiece, blending strong defense with a skillful attack, showcasing the best qualities of the players involved.

It all started with Rice making a crucial challenge near Italy’s 18-yard line as they threatened to score. Then, Bellingham, full of determination, made a decisive and powerful tackle on Nicolò Barella before swiftly accelerating forward. Guided by a superb pass from Phil Foden, Bellingham skillfully maneuvered past Frattesi and opened up a world of possibilities as he sprinted down the field. After passing to Marcus Rashford and a thrilling finish, England sealed the victory.

This was extraordinary football, played with intensity and the understanding that every inch gained could lead to success for the entire team in white. Harry Kane reminded everyone of his ability to create magic out of nothing, putting the finishing touch on the game amid chants of “We’re going to Germany.” Even a mixed reception for Jordan Henderson couldn’t dampen the overall positive feeling.

Bellingham received a hero’s ovation when he was substituted for Jack Grealish six minutes before the end. Perhaps this was the night Wembley, where “Hey Jude” echoed after the final whistle, celebrated a new hero: England now boasts a dynamic, relentless talent who could make the nation proud in nine months’ time.

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