Gary Neville said England midfielder Jude Bellingham “looks like he can do everything” after another starring performance in their 3-0 World Cup win over Senegal.
Sky Sports’ Neville was glowing in his praise for the 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder, who has started every game for England at the World Cup so far.
Bellingham’s driving run and square for Jordan Henderson helped England get off the mark in their last-16 tie, before he played a similarly impressive role in their second with a winding dribble from inside his own half.
“It’s very rare you see a midfield player as comfortable in his own half as in the attacking half,” Neville told ITV. “He looks like he can do absolutely everything. Is he a holding player, an attacking player? He’s everything in one.
“Physically he’s fantastic, so young but it’s the composure, maturity and fearlessness I can’t get my head around.
“I watched players play for England for many years, the weight of the shirt was enormous. He just doesn’t feel it at all, he looks like he belongs out there, like he wants it and needs it in his life.”
Keane added that he had rarely seen a display of the quality the teenager had produced in his first World Cup knock-out game, still six months off his 20th birthday.
Keane told ITV: “I’ve not seen a young midfielder perform like that for years. You usually see it from a world-class player who’s 26, 27. Everything he does in the game. We talk about what goes on in his brain.
“He’s got that maturity, his decision-making, what’s going on upstairs – it’s huge for a midfielder. End product, final pass, the kid has everything.”
Kane: Jude’s up there with best young talents
England captain Harry Kane, who owed much of his first goal of the tournament against Senegal to Bellingham’s role in the build-up, was asked about his young team-mate after notching his 52nd England strike.
Kane had played only one top-flight match by the time he was the midfielder’s age, and agreed when asked whether he was one of the best teenage players in the world.
“He’s up there,” he said. “I think he’s a fantastic player. He has everything with and without the ball. He presses really well, gets around the pitch, tackles.
“With the ball he can run, take players on, play a through ball, and as you saw today he was really important with our goal. I like Jude a lot. He’s a really good person. He’s mature for his age, got great leadership skills.
“All I’d say is to keep learning, keep working. He’s got plenty of years ahead of him and I’m sure he’ll want to keep improving. It’s great to have him with us.”
Dorsett: Is Bellingham England’s most important player?
Sky Sports News senior reporter Rob Dorsett was in Qatar to watch England stroll to victory, and questioned whether Bellingham, who had only played 10 times for England at the start of the year, had now become their most important player.
“Jude Bellingham is world class, and possibly England’s most important player at the age of 19,” he said. “His friendship and partnership with Jordan Henderson is blossoming on and off the pitch.
“Gareth Southgate got the big calls absolutely spot on again. In the first group game vs Iran, Sterling and Saka got three goals between them. In the third group game vs Wales, Rashford and Foden got three goals.
“Tonight, Saka and Foden were the big calls out wide. Saka got one goal, and Foden got two assists. Southgate really does seem to have the Midas touch with his selections right now.
“Crucially, Harry Kane has opened his World Cup account. He’s one goal behind Rooney, and now holds the record alone for most goals scored by an England player in major tournaments
“And, overall, England cruised through their first knockout game, and had the luxury of being able to make changes and rest some players with a huge quarter final v France on the horizon next weekend.”