Rio Ferdinand makes bold statement over ‘fabulous’ Jude Bellingham

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Manchester United icon Rio Ferdinand was highly impressed with England star Jude Bellingham in the Three Lions 6-2 win over Iran in their opening World Cup game. The Borussia Dortmund man opened the scoring with a glancing header in the first half, before Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish added to Bukayo Saka’s brace.

The teenager put in a stellar performance in the heart of midfield alongside Declan Rice and Mason Mount, prompting Ferdinand to put him alongside some of the greatest midfielders to have played the game.

“How confident and composed he was on the pitch, it goes well beyond his years,” Ferdinand told the BBC. “He’s a fabulous footballer, delivering at a World Cup and at that age. We talk about the great midfielders, none of them were doing what he’s doing on this stage, I’m not saying he’s better but none of them were doing this. It’s fabulous to see.

“He was conducting things at times. He was at their box probing then at times he was deep. For a young player to be looking at his game and thinking he needs to add this and that, he’s been playing for a couple of years, it’s ridiculous.

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“You normally do that when you’re 23, 24 when you find out what you’re good at. He’s a young player, it’s going to be interesting to see what type of player he ends up because he’s got so many strings to his bow.”

Fellow BBC pundit Micah Richards was also in awe of Bellingham’s performance. “Just wow,” the former Manchester City man added. “We talk about in between the lines, he just finds that space and the finish is, ah, beautiful. Just delightful, how he guides the ball, we’re talking about a special, special player.”

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Bellingham previously claimed he was saving his first England goal for the World Cup, and proved himself right. “Told you I was saving it,” Bellingham said after the victory over Iran.

“Really good day, scoring six goals at a World Cup is impressive whoever you play against. They came out well, very strong, we didn’t have anything clear for a long time, the start was tough and we had to dig in even when we wasn’t getting it all our own way so it’s important we learned how to create chances against sides like that but we’re disappointed with the two goals.

“To be honest I thought it missed [his goal] and it took ages to go in but I told you I wanted to score more goals for Dortmund and England. It was a great ball from [Luke] Shaw, I was there to flick it away and a great moment.”

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