England star Bellingham explains ‘who else?’ celebration after ‘rubbish’ criticism

News Desk
Jude Bellingham celebrates after scoring for England
Jude Bellingham celebrates after scoring for England

Jude Bellingham said his celebration against Slovakia in England’s Euro 2024 last 16 match stemmed from “a combination of a lot of things”.

The Real Madrid man had struggled to make an impression on the last-16 tie in Gelsenkirchen as England looked set to be heading home before his moment of inspiration, with Harry Kane then heading home in extra time to secure a 2-1 win.

Gareth Southgate’s side will now meet Switzerland in Dusseldorf on Saturday as England look to end a 58-year wait for a major men’s trophy.

Bellingham celebrated his wonder goal by raising his arms and shouting “Who else?” before seemingly gesturing a talking expression with his hand.

“The adrenaline gets you,” he said when asked what was behind the celebration.

“It’s a combination of a lot of things. Playing for England is an enjoyable feeling but it’s also a lot of pressure. You hear people talk a lot of rubbish. It’s nice when you can deliver and give them a little bit back.

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“It’s very difficult when you talk in press conferences and interviews to talk as openly as footballers want to because they’re always judged.

“For me, football, being on the pitch, scoring goals and celebrating is my release. Maybe it was a message to a few people. I was very happy at the end, lots of adrenaline.

“It’s a feeling that is like no other. In international football, in knockout football, it’s even a worse feeling, because you’re 30 seconds from going home.

“Having to listen to all the rubbish, feeling like you have let a nation of people down. In one kick of the ball, everything can change.”

Pushed on what he meant by “rubbish” the 21-year-old gave a bullish response, saying: “You know what I mean by the rubbish.

“Playing for England should be the most proud moment of your career but often it’s quite difficult. There’s a really high intense pressure. The fans expect a lot from us regardless of what happened in recent tournaments years and years ago.

“People talk a lot. You do have to take it personally a little bit. We work so hard at this game. We come in every day, we work hard to put on a performance for the fans, sometimes it doesn’t go well and sometimes it feels like there’s a bit of a pile on, it’s not nice to hear.

“But you can always use it and for moments like that, it’s nice to throw it back to some people.”

Bellingham believes his goal and the ensuing comeback can now inspire England at Euro 2024, with Southgate and his players heavily criticised for their performances in Germany so far.

“Definitely, besides their goal I thought we were pretty good, to be honest,” he said when asked if the turnaround could spark a lift-off at the tournament.

“We had a lot of control, we got in good areas. We were dangerous. We still had one or two moments where we could have been more clinical but in general I thought it was a good performance from us.

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“The main thing is we showed character. You don’t experience things like that if you don’t have the adversity of the two draws, of going 1-0 down. It’s brilliant because it shows a reaction.

“It’s a habit I’ve picked up from Madrid. Obviously my game has improved a lot since I’ve joined and I’m grateful I could bring it to this game.

“It was 20-30 seconds until we’re out of the European Championship, the mood in comparison to now that it would have been is a massive difference and what it can do for the team going forward.

“It’s hard to deny it was one of the most important moments of my career so far. We’ll see, though, it’s still a long tournament and it’s only really very important if we go on to win the cup. We’ll decide in the next two weeks how important it is.”

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