The Brilliant Jude Bellingham, the Biggest Beneficiary of the Modified English System | Sports News


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Jude Bellingham was instrumental in England’s first win over Iran at the World Cup

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It was supposed to be a tough Group B opener against a well-drilled and stubborn Iranian side renowned for their defensive discipline and low blocking. The kind of opponents England have struggled to field at major tournaments before.

Instead, England turned on the style at the Khalifa International Stadium, driving through the Iranian backline to win 6-2.

And it all started with Jude Bellingham.

The imposing header from the Borussia Dortmund midfielder broke the deadlock in Doha in the first half and it opened the floodgates for the Three Lions, who had scored four more times in the 71st minute.

Bukayo Saka impressed with a brace, both England full-backs Kieran Trippier and Luke Shaw looked comfortable and Harry Kane demonstrated just how effective he can be as a creative outlet, holding the ball and diving deeper to take possession and bring more players into the Game.

But it was 19-year-old Bellingham who has been at the heart of everything England have done well, despite not even making his league debut when the last World Cup kicked off. world in Russia four and a half years ago.

As well as becoming England’s second-youngest goalscorer in World Cup history after Michael Owen, Bellingham was instrumental in the team’s third and sixth goals in Doha, consistently attacking from midfield and creating openings.

But the Dortmund man was also happy to step back when needed and enjoyed 113 touches in the game – only defenders Shaw, John Stones and Trippier saw more of the ball against Iran.

He’s an archetypal box-to-box midfielder, something England arguably lacked in past tournaments and a style of player that wouldn’t have been as impactful in the previous systems adopted by the Three boss Lions, Gareth Southgate.

At Euro 2020, for example, England played in a 3-4-3 or 3-4-2-1 formation against stronger opponents such as Germany and Italy with Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice playing in the middle.

And while both are top midfielders with bright futures ahead of them, the pair play similarly, with both often content to protect the England defence.

Fast forward to Monday, however, and Southgate appears to have heeded the criticism it has received for playing it safe, opting for a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 system with more impetus offensive.

Yes, it was “only” Iran. And yes, Southgate is likely to revert to a more cautious system to shield England’s dodgy defense in the later stages of the tournament.

But the proof was in the pudding. The system saw Rice act as the only defensive midfielder with Bellingham allowed to move around and dictate the tempo of the game.

Indeed, Liverpool fans would have taken a step back realizing that Bellingham’s value increased a little more with every fine pass he played or with every Iranian attack he reduced.

There will be far tougher opponents ahead than Iran in Qatar and fans shouldn’t get too carried away with a single result.

And given the vulnerability of the Three Lions defence, it would be wrong to call Bellingham the final piece of the jigsaw – there are still a few more pieces to be found.

But Bellingham has been the biggest beneficiary of this system change and is unlike any other player in England’s 26-man squad.

He’s done it at Dortmund all season but showed in the space of 90 minutes in Doha why he is considered by many to be a generational talent and one of the best young players in world football.

It remains to be seen how far England can go at this World Cup, but you can bet that if they go deep Bellingham will have played a pivotal role.


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