Jose Mourinho insists Jude Bellingham will play a “major role” for England at Euro 2020 this summer.
The 17-year-old has just four England caps but he has earned widespread praise in those games after an outstanding season for Borussia Dortmund, who have moved to extend his contract.
Mourinho said: “Jude Bellingham is going to have a major role to play for England in this tournament, I am convinced of it.
“And while it’s very dangerous to compare players — especially when you compare them with top, top performers — I do think Bellingham has something of Frank Lampard about him.
“Lampard shoots ten times, he scores nine goals, he always hits the target. But this kid is also capable of scoring from outside the box.
“He defends well as a midfield player but then he has the potential to be offensive.
“I like him very much. He is a box-to-box player, that old-school profile.
“I love everything about Bellingham. I can’t believe his age, only 17. The way he plays, the way he brings himself into the game, shows so much maturity.
“We were aware of him when he was at Birmingham and Borussia Dortmund did a phenomenal job to sign him — as with Jadon Sancho.
“I wouldn’t start Bellingham against Croatia on Sunday because the first game always brings a little pressure. But I’d seriously think about starting him in every other game.
“If you get a good result in the first game, I think this kind of kid can emerge.
“Then if he emerges in a strong way, it is very difficult for the coach to leave him out.
“For Sunday’s game, I would go with Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips to bring more stability. Phillips is someone who gives a team balance — you can’t play all your attacking players.”
Euro 2020 is finally here – and what better way to celebrate than with a preview show to mark the launch of our new multi-sport website Planet Sport?