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Jude Bellingham ‘grateful’ for astonishing rise with England

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Jude Bellingham is surprised by the pace of his international ascent (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

Jude Bellingham has marveled at the speed at which he has risen to World Cup stardom after playing a key role in England’s emphatic opening win over Iran.

19-year-old Bellingham scored his first international goal in a 6-2 win over Al Rayyan, making him only the second teenager to score for England at the World Cup after the exploits of 18-year-old Michael Owen in 1998.

Bellingham has become accustomed to blowing away age-related records since eclipsing Trevor Francis to become the youngest player to break into Birmingham’s first team at the age of 16 in 2019.

But he admitted on the ‘Lions’ Den’ social media event: “I’ve always dreamed of being here, but I never thought it would be this soon.

“It’s been maybe three years since I made my pro debut and I’ve been given the opportunity to do things that not many people have done in their entire careers, and I’m very grateful.

“There is an element of quality and technique, but also luck and faith. That confidence from the managers and players to make me feel so comfortable at this level really makes me happy.

Bellingham headed in England’s opener in the 35th minute of the Group B game and, while acknowledging the excitement over his latest milestone, has turned his attention to Friday’s second game against the United States.

“It’s hard to sleep,” Bellingham said. “I was up all night answering messages and talking to people about how the game was going.

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“It was a really good day for everyone, but when it’s good to be ready the next day and go on Friday, there’s a certain level of professionalism because you don’t get a World Cup to win one game.

“We can take a lot of confidence from scoring six goals in any game, but especially in the World Cup. We know that winning one game by no means means we have to back it up with a good performance against the USA.”

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