Bellingham is not getting ahead of himself, though, and that is apparent in his workrate. He averages 3.2 tackles per 90 minutes played in the Championship this season and, despite starting only 25 of a possible 37 games, ranks in the top 20 of all players for total tackles made. He can be a little overenthusiastic and occasionally get beaten when diving in for a challenge, but his pace tracking back means he can often stop his opponent advancing too far into more dangerous areas.
Clotet has been impressed by Bellingham’s attitude, claiming the 16 year old – he turns 17 in June – is “very mature and very focused”, and the Spaniard has done an admirable job of slowly introducing him to professional football. Some Premier League followers would have been disappointed to see Bellingham rested for the recent FA Cup tie against Leicester, but he is now so important to the team that Clotet decided to keep him fresh for a subsequent league fixture.
The profile of Birmingham’s strikers contributes much to the fact that they so regularly adopt a 4-4-2, but as his career progresses Bellingham is perhaps more likely to become an attacking number eight in a 4-3-3 or even a number 10 in a 4-2-3-1. Given his potential and the reported interest in him, it might not be long before we get to see him in either of these positions – and at a higher level.