Exclusive: Jude Bellingham has every right to be cocky says Collymore

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So far so good for Jude Bellingham at the European Championship.

Though the England international has been far from his best, the 21-year-old has been the Three Lions saviour at the tournament.

His bullet header in the opening game set them on their way, and just when it looked like they were heading home, a magnificent overhead kick kept them in the tournament.

Could that be England’s defining moment on the way to glory? We’ll not know for a few days at least, but in the meantime, the youngster will continue writing the headlines.

His antics appear to have angered a few people too given that in real terms he’s barely started his career, but CaughtOffside columnist and former professional, Stan Collymore, has told Bellingham to keep up the antagonistic side of his game.

Bellingham could face similar treatment to Rooney and Beckham

“Jude Bellingham’s still a baby and people will say he’s done very little in his career. He’s not, as the kids say, ‘the man’ yet,” he said for his exclusive column.

“But if you’re La Liga Player of the Year, you’ve won the Champions League and you’ve been a key part of that then, of course, you’re going to have cockiness and sureness in your own ability.

“He’s not got a final body of work, but I love the attitude he displays. I think one of the big, big things about English football, when it comes to English players, is we’ve never celebrated players with talent until long after they’ve retired.

“In Jude’s case, I think that it is both true that I want him to be cocky and confident and to have ultimate self belief, but I also want him to be a fully functioning member and part of the team. To remember that his success cannot come without the success of others.

Jude Bellingham celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the UEFA Euro 2024 Group C football match between Serbia and England

“There’s been a couple of times when he’s gone over to Gareth Southgate and taken instructions then gesticulated a little bit, but again, I think that he’s young and still learning. He probably watches, or has watched, lots of big name players take centre stage, not just with their performances but how they interact with the bench.

“The media are saying how good he’s been since 16 years of age, so he’s probably thinking ‘how can I now play the part on and off the pitch?’

“If he gets punished because of his crotch-grabbing antics it would be incredibly negative, and the reaction to him would be interesting. Let’s not forget Wayne Rooney and David Beckham have had the naughty little boy tabloid treatment, so he needs to be careful.”

The point regarding the English media and their treatment of players once they fall of their pedestal is a particularly interesting one.

Bellingham is carrying his country in many respects and yet he clearly can’t be considered as a senior member of the squad at this point.

That’s maybe why other players ought to step in.

“Maybe Kyle Walker or another senior pro just pulls him aside and says ‘I’ve worked with these big, big dogs. I’ve won everything there is to win with these big dogs. And in the case of a De Bruyne, you couldn’t get a more self deprecating, it’s not all about me kind of player,'” Collymore added.

“If Jude was reading this, all I’d say is keep being cocky, keep being confident, but remember that no player can get to where they need to be without the likes of Phil Foden, Kieran Trippier, Jordan Pickford etc.

“You are just one piece of a cog, you’re not the cog on its own.”

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