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Gareth Southgate reveals what gives Jude Bellingham his ‘greatest strength’

Jude Bellingham is likely to feature for England in the upcoming international matches (REUTERS)
Jude Bellingham is likely to feature for England in the upcoming international matches (REUTERS)

Gareth Southgate said he loves “the edge” that Jude Bellingham’s winning mentality brings, as he compared it to figures like Roy Keane, and said he isn’t concerned about recent disciplinary incidents.

The Real Madrid star recently got a red card for comments to the referee after the 2-2 draw with Valencia, amid a series of recent headlines. Southgate expressed no concerns on that as he joked he didn’t want headlines consisting of “Southgate warns arguably the best player we’ve had for decades”.

“I think with some of the great players that play with a mentality he has, I’m thinking [Steven] Gerrard, [Patrick] Vieira and Keane, they compete. They don’t like losing, they love winning. They haul the team up by its boots at those moments and they are often on that line. That is often where he is, so the thing that gives him his greatest strength is something he has to make sure he is on the right side of. He has normally been able to stay controlled in those moments if he’s had a yellow card.

“This is the first time with the sending-off the other day that I can remember him stepping over that. He is a bright boy, he will learn from that. He is super intelligent and really receptive to learning and taking things in. He’s had an incredible season at historically the biggest club in the world. Everyone can argue if that is still the case but we’re very happy to have him. We love that edge that he has but clearly, he has to get that right.”

Jude Bellingham has been in the headlines recently (REUTERS)
Jude Bellingham has been in the headlines recently (REUTERS)

When it was put to Southgate that such moments in a tournament could prove decisive for the whole campaign, the England manager said: “Well, if I feel that I will talk to him about it but what I will not do is have, ‘Southgate warns arguably the best player we’ve had for decades’ over the back pages! I know that is great fodder for you!”

Southgate meanwhile said Luke Shaw might struggle to be fully fit for seven games at Euro 2024, but there is hope he will play again before the end of the season for Manchester United. The left-back currently has a muscle injury that has curtailed what had been a strong campaign.

“We are all hoping – ourselves and Manchester United – that he could be back just before the end of the league season. But that is getting really tight to the Euros and there is a reality about whether it’s possible to play seven games in the Euros.

“What we’ve learned from the two or three tournaments in which we have played seven matches, we’ve learned a lot of information about physically what a tournament takes. So there is getting fit to play but there is also what that means about level of performance.

“He’s a player clearly because of his quality and because of the depth in that position who is very important to us. But it is going to be a close thing I think.”