England fans are already running out of superlatives to accurately describe just how good Jude Bellingham is as the young midfielder helped spur the Three Lions on to a massive win against Italy which secured their place at Euro 2024.
Whilst qualification was still likely to happen in either of the next two games, Gareth Southgate’s side were aiming for “payback” after the Euro 2020 final according to Manchester City star Kyle Walker, and that’s exactly what they got.
Despite conceding the first goal, England managed to put three past Azzuri, making it two wins in the last two games against the foes who brought the nation’s previous Euros campaign to such a painful end, and although one goal came from Manchester and another from ever-reliable source, it was the young midfielder who earned the headlines on Tuesday night.
Not only did Bellingham win the penalty for captain Harry Kane‘s equaliser and set up another for Man United’s Marcus Rashford to put England in front, but the Real Madrid star absolutely ran the show from start to finish, sending social media into a frenzy and those in the ground to chant his name throughout.
Waxing lyrical about the Birmingham-born attacking mid in a piece the morning after, The Athletic‘s Tim Spiers said that “almost every in the stadium [was] under Jude Bellingham’s command” and praised him not only for his performance but spirit and leadership at such a young age.
“To be one of the world’s best players is one thing, to be an inspirational leader is another. Bellingham is both”, says Spiers.
“With his magnificent performance here, dragging England into the lead either side of half-time with moments of aggressive ingenuity, but also with his ring-mastering of the audience, it felt like this was the night Bellingham’s relationship with his home public was forged.
“He spoke to Wembley, with his feet, with his gestures, with his rabble-rousing — and in turn they worshipped him, singing his name, shouting ‘Juuuude’, marvelling at his flicked passes, his sliding tackles, his dominance of the game.” Ridiculously high praise but not wrong; virtually everyone agrees that despite being just his 27th cap for England, he might just be our best player right now.
On just his fifth start at Wembley, Bellingham is already being compared to the likes of Paul Gascoigne, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard; Iniesta, Xavi, Zidane and more all in the same breath, and it’s starting to look as if England are ever going to win a trophy, this young man will play a very big part in it.
Having just joined the Spanish giants this season from Borussia Dortmund, where he was already making his incredible talent abundantly clear, he has already taken his game to a new level and become their main man, insisting that his arrival has “100% improved” him as a player.
Bellingham was still a teenager barely five minutes ago, has already become a ‘galactico’ at one of the biggest teams in the world, is now the name fans want to see on an England teamsheet and might just be one of if not the best player on the planet right now. Big words, we know — but have you seen him?
You can see the full highlights of the Three Lions’ Euros qualification-securing win over Italy and Bellingham’s unreal performance down below:
Scott McTominay jokes he’s ‘fuming’ he didn’t score a hat-trick against Chelsea as he reflects on Man United’s mentality
Scott McTominay has joked he’s “fuming” with himself after failing to score a hat-trick in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Chelsea on Wednesday nightand shed some light on the mentality around Old Trafford.
McTominay starred in the Red Devils’ win over Mauricio Pochettino’s side on a cold night at home, managing to bag a brace with a goal in the first and second half to get his squad over the line, but he himself said he could have had more.
Speaking to MUTV after the game, the 26-year-old said he and the squad knew they needed to drum up a reaction after the Newcastle disappointment, adding that contributing more goals is something he wants to keep working on and insisting that plenty of people back him to do so.
Confessing that his mum, dad and grandad have all been encouraging him to “get in the box” and that he just needs to “believe in [him]self and go for it”, the Scotsman did go on to quip he was “fuming” to not grab a third as he shook his head went on to shake and reveal a wry smile.
Commentator and presenter Stewart Gardner went on to list McTominay’s impressive stats this season, having now scored 14 goals in his last 33 appearances for club and country. A seriously good rate from a midfielder typically entrusted to help link play and break things up in the middle of the park.
Now boasting half a dozen goals and an assist across all competitions so far this campaign, he sits as the club’s leading goalscorer in the Premier League with five finishes to his name — with only Bruno Fernandes having contributed more (five goals and five assists) — he’s genuinely become one of Man United’s main goal threats.
While he recently rubbished talk that he played as a striker regularly coming up through the youth academy, simply having been deployed for the odd game in reality, he has always had a shot on him and it isn’t the first time he’s bagged a winner or a big goal for the Reds. This wasn’t a bad one either:
Chatting with the pundits on Amazon Prime Sport, he reiterated that he could have had “one or two more” on another night and agreed that the performance against Newcastle in the previous fixture was “pretty abysmal”, holding his hands up to admit that it was “no way near good enough”.
Reflecting on the later chance he had to seal the hat-trick towards the end of the game, he said he simply needed to “calm down on the last one”.
As for the mentality to get the result during a difficult period where the club remained under a lot of scrutiny from pundits and fans alike, McTominay went on to say that the manager is responsible for the way they played and some “lighter training sessions to keep energy levels up” definitely helped.
Regardless, he was sure to not get ahead of himself and assured ten Hag‘s team were still taking things a game at a time. You can watch the full highlights from Manchester United vs Chelsea down below:
Featured Images — Scott McTominay (via Instagram)/MUTV
Kevin Sinfield has entered the final leg of yet another ultra marathon challenge for MND
Ex-rugby player turned England coach Kevin Sinfield has begun the final day of yet another incredible ultra marathon challenge he is undertaking to raise money and awareness around motor neurone disease (MND), with the sports personality scheduled to finish up this Thursday.
Having set off on 1 December, the Oldham-born athlete is facing what he has called easily his “toughest challenge” yet, taking on the newly-dubbed ‘Ultra 7 in 7 in 7’, which will see him once again run an ultra marathon every day for seven days across seven different cities.
Following on from his first Ultra 7 in 7 back in 2020 and most recent one last year, the Leeds Rhinos legend has now raised well over £8 million pounds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA), the cause he got behind following his former teammate and best mate Rob Burrow’s diagnosis in 2019.
Now, having taken on the incredible feat once again — running the equivalent of 27 miles (43km) a day — Sinfield is hoping to not just reach the trademark £777,777 fundraising target, but smash it for a fourth consecutive time. Here he is finishing up his penultimate leg in his second home.
Setting off from Yorkshire’s iconic Headingley Stadium with a team of friends and volunteers, the 43-year-old has passed through the likes of Cardiff, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Dublin and Brighton, and is now staring down one last push towards the finale from Twickenham Stadium to the Mall in London.
Having already amassed over £557k in donations since the start of his remarkable journey, he is well on course to reach the finish line in every sense of the word.
The best part about this most recent Ultra 7 fundraising challenge, though, is that beyond just putting in the hard yards in Burrow‘s name and raising money for the MNDA, the funds generated from this series of runs will be going to multiple causes.
As well as the Leeds Hospitals Charity and The Darby Rimmer MND Foundation, money will also be going to the Irish MNDA set up by former Scottish rugby player, Doddie Weir, who sadly died from the condition in 2022 but has remained an inspiration to Sinfield and countless others over recent years.
Having echoed his lasting sentiment that “MND isn’t untreatable, it’s just underfunded” throughout his own campaigning for the cause, the local sporting hero will also be representing the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation in his honour. Heartwarming stuff.
As we’re sure is the case for all of you too, we’ve been absolutely blown away by this man over the last few years not only in his ability to keep completing these huge feats of endurance but by the size of his heart in continuing to fundraise on such a massive scale.
From raising awareness around MND and becoming an emblem of friendship with his best mate Rob, Kevin Sinfield has truly set an example for all of us and will no doubt prove a role model to millions for years to come.