Jude Bellingham says watching dad Mark in non-League game sealed his love of football

Thursday 25 Mar 2021
England's Jude Bellingham sat down to chat in our 'First Impressions' series
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Jude Bellingham says his love of football came from watching his “first footballing hero” and father Mark banging in the goals at non-League level.

The England and Borussia Dortmund midfielder grew up following his dad around the West Midlands scene during a career which saw him score over 700 goals.

Playing for clubs such as East Thurrock, Stourbridge, Leamington, Sutton Coldfield, Bromsgrove Rovers and Halesowen Town to name but a few, a young Bellingham spent many a Saturday watching on from the sidelines.

And while he admits he later went on to idolise Wayne Rooney, it was his dad who first inspired his early football dreams.

"We talk about footballing heroes, and my dad was like my first,” revealed Jude, the latest member of the squad to feature in ‘First Impressions’.

Jude Bellingham was first called into Gareth Southgate's squad last November after previously featuring for the MU21s this term

"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."

For the teenager, who made the switch from his hometown club Birmingham City to the German giants last summer, family remains a vital aspect for him.

Moving to a new country and starting to learn a new language would be big for any teenager, but add in the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s made things even trickier.

 

"My family are massive for me, but with COVID-19, it's been a bit split," he added.

"My dad and brother are over here [in England] and my mum has been living with me out in Germany.

"With all the travel restrictions, it's been hard to see them but when we do it's been brilliant. They're the biggest thing in my life.

"My mum keeps me grounded, she's always there for me and I can't thank her enough for everything she's done for me.

"All the people [in Germany] have been brilliant to me, I've picked up a bit of the language and I know how to ask for certain stuff, more football things than anything at the moment.

"It's not just speaking, but understanding, and I know what a coach would want from me from certain words and it's been helped by the other lads and picking stuff up from them."

Watch the full interview with Jude in ‘First Impressions’ via the media player above and you can see more features like this by subscribing to the official England YouTube channel.

By FA Staff