Joe Cole backs Jude Bellingham to lead England like Lionel Messi

Joe Cole backs Jude Bellingham to lead England like Lionel Messi does for Argentina after his outstanding performance against Italy… while Marcus Rashford labels the in-form midfielder ‘unbelievable’

  • Jude Bellingham impressed again for England in Tuesday’s 3-1 win against Italy
  • The 20-year-old was hailed by former Three Lions international Joe Cole
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’

Joe Cole stopped short of comparing Jude Bellingham to Lionel Messi, but did identify the one quality he believes England’s rising star has that the Argentinian didn’t in the formative years of his career.

Bellingham starred again after producing a man-of-the-match performance in England’s dominant 3-1 win over Italy at Wembley on Tuesday evening that guaranteed their spot in next year’s European Championship.

The 20-year-old won the penalty for England’s first goal that Harry Kane made no mistake with, before assisting Manchester United winger Marcus Rashford for the second.

Throughout the match, that initially saw the hosts go behind early-on, Bellingham was constantly engaging with his team-mates and at times attempted to rally the home crowd inside Wembley.

Brilliant displays at Real Madrid, where he is currently the top scorer in LaLiga, are now being backed up with equally impressive performances for the national team with Cole hailing the midfielder as a ‘leader’ that can guide England to silverware.

Jude Bellingham produced another man-of-the-match performance for England on Tuesday

The 20-year-old unhinged Italy’s midfield in a dominant victory for England against Italy

Joe Cole believes Bellingham is showing similar leadership qualities to Lionel Messi (pictured)

The former Chelsea and England forward believes Bellingham can have the same impact Messi did on Argentina last year when he played a vital role in them winning the World Cup.

‘I wont compare him to Messi but when Messi led Argentina to world cup, he can be that type of leader, Messi at 20 wasn’t that mature,’ Cole said on Channel Four.

However, despite hinting to the former Birmingham and Borussia Dortmund star that he should swap the Spanish top-flight for the Premier League, Cole went on to explain why it makes sense for Bellingham to stay at Madrid.

The extremely-talented box-to-box playmaker moved to the Spanish capital in a £113m summer transfer and is already settling into life at the Santiago Bernabeu easier, and quicker, than many predicted. 

‘Don Carlo [Ancelotti] will be looking after him, he has fallen on his feet with Kylian Mbappe probably turning up next year. 

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Man United’s Marcus Rashford described Bellingham as an ‘unbelievable player’ after the win

Ex-England international and Chelsea forward, Cole, hailed Bellingham’s leadership abilities

Bellingham (left) has cemented his place in Gareth Southgate’s (right) Three Lions team

‘I can understand it, at Madrid, top of tree, why would you come home? If you go there and win it all you might be thinking you might want to do it at home, but when you’re at a top club there is no reason to leave. You are at top of tree,’ he added.

Bellingham’s team-mate Rashford expressed similar sentiments during his glowing review and labelled his colleague as an ‘unbelievable player’.

‘He is unbelievable player, not just qualities but full of energy everywhere on pitch,’ said the United star.

‘He is a joy to play with and we hope he can continue form. He didn’t score today but you can see the huge influence he has going forward and it’s huge boost for the team.’


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

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