Jordan Henderson holds key to convincing Bellingham to join Liverpool as he admits whoever gets him will be ‘very lucky’
JORDAN HENDERSON is sure that whoever manages to prise Jude Bellingham away from Borussia Dortmund will feel like they have won the lottery.And he hopes Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has bought plenty of tickets.
Jude Bellingham and Jordan Henderson have built up a friendship with EnglandCredit: Getty
Reds captain Henderson has spent the last three years as a midfield mentor to Bellingham every time they have met up with England.
Now he is praying their close connection will be enough to convince the teenage marvel to move to Anfield in the face of ferocious competition from every top club in Europe.
Aged just 19, Bellingham has the football world at his feet, with Real Madrid, Chelsea, both Manchester giants and Liverpool all slugging it out for his signature this summer.
With two years still to run on his Dortmund contract, he is not going to come cheap.
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It is anticipated bids in excess of £100million will be needed to convince the Bundesliga leaders to cash in.
Henderson said: “Whichever club gets him will be very lucky to have him.
“If it ends up being Liverpool, that would be amazing.
“But every club you can think of is going to want him. It’s got to be the right move for him because I just want him to become the best player he can be. So he has to think about himself and make sure he makes the right decision for his career.
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“He’s doing so well at Dortmund, which is a really good club playing Champions League football every season, which has really helped him.
“I’m sure he’ll sit down with his family and decide what route he wants to take, because his potential is through the roof.”
Veteran Hendo, 32, is wary of adding to the hype which is already building around Bellingham.
The teen became the third youngest player in Three Lions history when he made his senior debut in November 2020 at the age of 17 shortly after his £20m summer move from Birmingham to Dortmund.
But Henderson has no doubts about the youngster’s ability to handle the pressure and joked about checking his birth certificate to make sure he really is still only 19.
The Liverpool skipper added: “Jude is a really special player and I honestly can’t believe how mature he is at his age. He can be as good as he wants to be because he has got the right mentality, which is the most important thing.
“The way he applies himself in training and in games is something I’ve never seen before.
“The way he plays, the way he behaves off the pitch, in the gym, he is just so dedicated to football.
“Mentality-wise, we’re similar in terms of dedicating our lives to trying to improve every day.
“But he’s a much better player than I was at his age, that’s for sure.
“And I’m pretty confident he will be a special player for many years to come.
“But we still need to be careful not to apply too much pressure on him and just let him play football.
“You can see what he does for Dortmund and for England — he gets better every time he puts on an England shirt.
“Of course there are things he can improve but he’s only 19 and the platform he has got means he can go as high as he wants.”
That was a theme picked up by Bellingham himself when he was interviewed by his Anfield idol Steven Gerrard following the 2-0 win against Ukraine on Sunday.
Gerro, like Henderson, believes the youngster is a generational talent and said: “He’s a lot further forward than I was at his age. I never had that power and strength until I was 23 and he’s more confident in possession than I was in terms of what he’ll try to do on the ball.”
Yet Bellingham insisted: “There’s so much more I have to learn about the way I want to be a midfielder who can win games at both ends of the pitch and dominate in the middle.
“The best chance I have of doing that is to be in the changing room at Dortmund and with England, because I’m like a sponge taking everything in that can help me.”
It is that willingness to learn which has particularly impressed England boss Gareth Southgate.
He said: “I’m loath to put pressure on young players because they already have a lot to deal with and it’s not for me to add to that.
“The good thing about Jude and Declan Rice is they have already captained their clubs and that’s great leadership experience because it puts them in situations slightly out of their comfort zone.
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“I remember one of Wayne Rooney’s first games for England against Turkey and the intelligence he showed on the pitch.
“In terms of personality and how he carries himself, only Jude is in that same bracket at that age.” More