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2022 World Cup: Jordan Henderson backs Jude Bellingham to play ‘big role’ for England

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‘I almost don’t want to make him too big!’: Jordan Henderson is wary of putting pressure on Jude Bellingham… but backs Dortmund’s ‘great’ midfielder to play a ‘big role’ for England in Qatar World Cup

Jordan Henderson gives Jude Bellingham a tip to ‘play a big part’ for England in Qatar this winter, but he is wary of burying the Borussia Dortmund star under the pressure.

Bellingham, 19, was a rare highlight for England in an international match in which they were relegated from their Nations League group after losing to Italy and then held by Germany at Wembley.

Bellingham’s ascendancy over the past 12 months has made him appear to play a central role in Gareth Southgate’s plans, but Henderson, who has mentored the teen, wants to ensure Bellingham is not burdened by a weight of expectations .

Jordan Henderson (right) wary of burying Jude Bellingham (left) under pressure of expectation

The 19-year-old was man of the match at Wembley and looks set for a World Cup starting spot

The 19-year-old was man of the match at Wembley and looks set for a World Cup starting spot

“I love Jude, I think he’s a great player,” Henderson said the mirrorspeaking at a McDonald’s Fun Football event in Liverpool.

“He is a fantastic professional and his mentality is really key to his development.

‘I don’t want to make him too big, because he’s still a young lad! There will be a lot of pressure on him at a young age, but of course he is a top player and I am sure he will play a big role in Qatar.”

With Kalvin Phillips hampered by injury, Bellingham now looks set to be a nailed-down squad alongside Declan Rice for England’s World Cup opener against Iran on November 21.

Bellingham was England's best player in Monday night's exciting 3-3 draw with Germany

Bellingham was England’s best player in Monday night’s exciting 3-3 draw with Germany

The 19-year-old has almost certainly made his way onto Gareth Southgate's starting squad

The 19-year-old has almost certainly made his way onto Gareth Southgate’s starting squad

“Every time I play with Jude, we build that connection and I tell him, ‘You go bomb and do your offensive stuff and I’ll sit here and defend for you.’

“So we get that good connection, he’s great to play with,” Rice said after the 3-3 draw with Germany.

“Hopefully it continues to bloom. He is the future of English football for the next 15 years.”

Rice added: “He’s a man, you can see that when he plays for Dortmund. As a 19 year old you are normally afraid to talk to the umpire, but he stands in the umpire’s face and demands answers, demands decisions and he constantly leaves himself on the pitch.

Declan Rice and Bellingham begin to form a positive partnership in mid-midfield

Declan Rice and Bellingham begin to form a positive partnership in mid-midfield

“He really pushes you onto the field. We push each other and it is a privilege to play alongside him.”

Bellingham has played in 144 domestic club matches and has 17 senior caps in England.

He started both games against Italy and Germany and he can provide so much dynamism in the center of the park that has caught the attention of Henderson and Rice.

In the Bundesliga, he has been in first place so far this season in duels won, completed takeovers and won possession in the middle third.

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