JUDE BELLINGHAM’S build means that he could hardly be described as a mirror image of Bryan Robson.
But, height apart, Robson agrees with his old England team-mate Gary Lineker on every other level about Borussia Dortmund’s rising star.
He tweeted of the 6ft 1in midfielder: “I’ll be very surprised if Bellingham doesn’t play a big part in England’s World Cup campaign. Got a bit of Bryan Robson about him.”
And that according to Robson, the former Three Lions skipper still known as Captain Marvel, is right on the mark.
Robson stood four inches shorter than Bellingham but says so much else about the 19-year-old is similar.
And just like Lineker he believes the starlet, who is wanted by Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea, can have a towering influence on England’s World Cup campaign.
Robson told SunSport: “I definitely think he might have a bit of me in him. It’s all very well flying forward and trying to score but it’s also about protecting your back four.
“That was something I always believed that you had to do as a midfielder.
“I watched him closely playing against City and you could see how much he’s progressed since we thought we had landed him at Manchester United a couple of years ago.
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“He has fantastic anticipation — as we saw in the way he darted into the box to put away his header. But he wins plenty of battles as well.
“A lot of people think he’s more or less an attacking midfielder but he can do the other side of it as well.
“He’s a good size. He’s pretty quick and in fact he’s got a bit of everything about him.
“What he’s got to do, of course, is keep his feet on the ground and work hard to be the best he can be.
“But you can see why he has become such a big target in the market because he is such a big talent.
“And if he keeps performing like he did against City he will be a big part of England’s World Cup bid.”
CHANCE FOR JUDE
Injured midfielders Kalvin Phillips (shoulder) and Jordan Henderson (hamstring) miss the Nations League games in Italy on Friday and at home to Germany on Monday.
That gives Bellingham the chance to stake a claim, with England’s next game their World Cup opener against Iran in Qatar on November 21.
Robson added: “Declan Rice is a given as an England holding midfielder — he’s so solid and reliable.
“Depending on how Gareth Southgate wants to play, Bellingham could have a role alongside him.
“What’s sure is that Gareth has had Bellingham on his radar for some time now — he started playing him when he was still 17.
“Now he’s got 15 caps and we have the two games coming up against Italy and Germany.
We (Man Utd) thought we more or less had him (Bellingham)
“It would be natural to think that Gareth will maintain that progress with him heading into the finals.”
Robson had hoped that the Stourbridge-born son of a policeman would be patrolling the Old Trafford midfield by now.
He formed part of a welcoming committee of United legends that also included Sir Alex Ferguson and Eric Cantona when Bellingham was invited for talks on his future while a 16-year-old at Birmingham.
Yet a few months later in July 2020 he chose Dortmund instead, joining the Bundesliga club for an initial fee of £25million.
United ambassador Robbo, now 65, added: “Unfortunately for us he decided to move to Germany. We thought we more or less had him.
“Myself, Sir Alex and Eric Cantona all met him with his mum and dad at Carrington and after that meeting we thought he was coming to us.
“Now there is talk about him moving next summer and you see Liverpool mentioned a lot.
“We thought we had him and he would have been a great signing for us. But he definitely has it in him to become a great player for England.”