Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand says Jude Bellingham is ahead of a legendary quintet of former Premier League midfielders at this stage of his career and urged his former club to chase the midfielder.
Bellingham created history on Wednesday night as he became the first English teenager to captain a team in the Champions League as he wore the armband in Borussa Dortmund’s 4-1 win over Sevilla.
The England international played the full 90 minutes, scoring one goal and assisting another to put the Bundesliga side in a comfortable second place in Group G.
A bidding war between European giants is expected next summer as Dortmund eye a record transfer for an Englishman.
Liverpool and Real Madrid are the sides most heavily linked, but Manchester City lurk in the background and Chelsea are also thought to be in the race.
And Ferdinand has urged United to go in for the England international, tweeting a phone emoji and tagging the Red Devils.
On duty for BT Sport, the former centre-back explained that Bellingham’s “temperament”, as well as his obvious ability, will hold him in good stead.
“We said it as soon as we saw it, what he’s doing in his position, at his age, we haven’t seen. The best of our generation, Lampard, Gerrard, Scholes, Vieira, Roy Keane, those guys weren’t doing this,” Ferdinand said.
“I’m just saying that they weren’t doing this. He’s still got to go on an prove it and do it over a long period of time. But they weren’t doing what he is doing right now. Influencing a game at this level, captaining a team at this level.
“He’s the full package and mentally, this kid’s a beast. No doubts about that. One thing you have to say about him, whoever gets him, one question that won’t have to be answered is the temperament.
“When you’re making big transfers, the temperament is the key thing you need to get right. This kid has already proved that his temperament is not even a question mark.”
Bellingham admitted after the game that the captaincy is something he relishes.
“It comes quite naturally, to be honest. My teammates around are so experienced, so they make it quite easy. They do the majority of the work and for me it’s about trying to lead by example with my performance and everything else follows,” Bellingham said.
“But I play with such amazing people and players that it really makes it quite easy for me to just continue to do what I do. I’m just trying to help my team win. These nights I really enjoy it as you can see.
“Every time I step out I want to help Borussia Dortmund win the game and it helped tonight so I am really happy.”