Jude Bellingham: the Stourbridge son of non-league star and West Midlands Police sergeant
Jude Bellingham is one of the most exciting talents at this year’s World Cup, here’s the story of his journey from Stourbridge to Qatar and the role his parents played
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Jude Bellingham has developed into one of, if not the best young talent in European football.
At just 19-years of age, Bellingham started in the centre of England’s midfield alongside Declan Rice and scored in his country’s first game at the 2022 World Cup against Iran on Monday (21 November). His performance in England’s 6-2 win highlighted just how much potential he has at such a young age after he became the first player born after 2000 to score on football’s biggest stage.
His form for England and his club Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga this season has been brilliant, and he also became the youngest ever player to captain a club in Germany’s top league after wearing the armband for Dortmund in October.
A bidding war is expected to erupt this summer, with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid all hoping to sign Bellingham.
Bellingham has had an astronomical rise from Birmingham City’s academy to being the most in-demand young player in world football, but who exactly is the teenager?
Stourbridge son of police sergeant
Jude was born in Stourbridge, the Black Country town in Dudley.
He is the eldest son of Denise and Mark Bellingham and has a brother Jobe who of course plays for Blues.
Mark has had a long career as a police sergeant with West Midlands Police, although he announced on Twitter just last week (November 14) that he has now retired from his role with the force after 24 years of service.
Jude and Jobe must also get some of their footballing talent from their father Mark. The former police officer juggled his family life and his job with the force with a stellar stint in non-league football. Incredibly, Mark scored more than 700 goals in around 900 appearances playing non-league football for the likes of Leamington, Stourbridge, Sutton Coldfield, Bromsgrove Rovers and Halesowen Town over the years.
In an interview with the Non-League Paper in 2016, Mark spoke about his goal-scoring record.
He said: “I’ve managed my ability well, I’ve always said I’m not that great a player and although I’m still scoring, I am playing at Step 7!”
“Most of the 700 (goals) were from not very far out so I think I owe my team-mates over the years a lot more than they owe me.
“I’m 40 now so I think this season will probably be my last. I’m playing veterans’ football a bit more on Sundays and my eldest son is now playing for Birmingham U16s – maybe it’s time to finally step away.”
You certainly get the sense that Jude’s dad could have played at an even higher level had he not dedicated his career to the police.
And in an interview with the FA in 2020, Jude said his dad was his first football hero.
He said: “We talk about footballing heroes, and my dad was like my first.
“When you go and watch him play every week in non-League, you know it’s not the Premier League or anything, but seeing the way that he played and the atmosphere, it made me fall in love with football so he was probably my first hero.
“After the first few times of going, I’d start to pay a bit more attention to the games and stuff, the atmosphere and he’s scoring goals so you see him celebrating and stuff like that - you want that to be me.
“Growing up, he’d always give me tips on what I could do and now it gets to a certain age and it sort of flips and that’s brilliant because we have that sort of relationship like father and son and then as I got older, like coach and player.”
Rise to stardom
Jude attended the Priory School in Edgbaston and joined Birmingham City as an under 8 after playing for Stourbridge. A huge Blues fan, Jude rose through the ranks of the academy and made his debut as a 16-year-old for his club.
His academy and eventual first team performances for Blues made him one of the most talked about youngsters in European football, with a number of the continent’s top clubs vying for his signature. on transfer deadline day in 2020, Birmingham were reported to have turned down a £20 million bid from Manchester United for Bellingham.
He continued as a first-team regular, and by the time the season was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he had made 32 league appearances. He remained an integral part of the team once the season resumed behind closed doors.
Due to the club’s reputation of developing young players, Bellingham chose to join Dortmund and signed for the German club in July 2020. He lives over in Germany with his mum Denise.
Since his move to the Bundesliga, Bellingham has gone from strength to strength over the last two seasons with the club. His form has been brilliant this season and as mentioned, he has even captained the club.
Bellingham was called up to the England squad for the first time in 2020, and even made the Euro 2020 squad. He became only the second teenager to score for England at a World Cup against Iran on Monday - along with Michael Owen in 1998.
What a talent!