Having become Birmingham’s youngest-ever player aged just 16 years and 38 days, Jude Bellingham quickly showed he was too talented to be playing in the Championship, and attracted interest from many of the best teams across Europe. It was Borussia Dortmund who won the race to sign him for £22.75m in the summer of 2020, when their manager Lucien Favre insisted that Bellingham’s age was no barrier to his chances of game time.
“First and foremost, I am interested in playing intelligence,” Favre said of the then-17-year-old. “With someone like Bellingham, I don’t look at the date of birth. He has the technical skills and a feel for space. I like the way he handles the ball, how he defends it. Jude gives us many tactical possibilities and has an amazing presence. He can play as a number six or number eight, is a good passer, tries to put himself in a finishing position. With him, different systems are possible.”