West Ham United captain Declan Rice has heaped praise on England midfield partner Jude Bellingham, claiming he plays beyond his 19 years of age and is ‘the future of English football’.

The duo have become regular fixtures in Gareth Southgate’s side in the last year, though the Three Lions’ form has noticeably dipped in that time and the two can often be overrun.

But they were both impressive in Monday’s 3-3 draw against Germany at Wembley, and speaking to reporters post-match, Rice could not hide his admiration for Bellingham.

“Even little things, as a 19 year-old you’re scared to talk to the referee but he’s in the referee’s face demanding answers, demanding decisions and he leaves himself on the pitch constantly,” Rice said.

“He’s 19 but he’s got the body of a 28-year-old, he’s a man. He thinks like a man, plays like a man and shows personality and character.  You can see it when he plays for Dortmund, how he get around the pitch. He’s the future of English football to come for the next 15 years if he wants to be.”

Rice added that he is hopeful of building his relationship on the pitch with Bellingham at the World Cup as he enjoys playing with him.

He continued: “I hope so. We’ve got so many good players, younger players even coming through now, current players in the squad that aren’t here,

“Every place is up for grabs but every time I play with Jude we’re building that connection and I say to him ‘you go and bomb on and do your attacking stuff and I’ll sit here and defend for you’. So we’re getting that good connection, he’s great to play with.

“Top lad as well, really pushes you on the pitch. We push each other on and it’s a privilege to play next to him. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone as good as he is for 19. I look at a lot of 19 year-olds, whether it’s at a club, around the world, around the country, to have the whole package it’s a hard thing to have and I feel like he’s got that.”

90min revealed on Wednesday that Real Madrid are stepping up their efforts to sign Bellingham from Dortmund, though he is unlikely to make a decision on his future until after the World Cup.

Credit: 90min.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *