The Borussia Dortmund prodigy destined for World Cup greatness: Should Jude Bellingham start for England?

Jude Bellingham has become one of England’s hottest young prospects over the past year.

The Stourbridge-born midfielder is now one of the favourites to be named in England’s starting XI for the first game of the 2022 World Cup (11/10), according to Betfair.

The 18-year-old is just behind Declan Rice (1/2) and Mason Mount (4/7) and could make up a three-man midfield as Gareth Southgate looks to go a step further than the Euro 2020 tournament.

Bellingham narrowly missed out in a regular place in England’s team this summer but has shown signs that he will heavily involved in the international set-up as he grows up.

The teenager was extremely highly rated during his time with boyhood club Birmingham City but his name wasn’t mentioned quite as often outside the West Midlands until his £25 million move to Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund.

Such an expensive move for someone who had barely left school was a big risk, but Bellingham’s transfer to Germany paid off and the youngster has since lit up the Bundesliga and added his name to Southgate’s long list of selection headaches.

Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice and Mason Mount were brilliant for England in the Euros and so nobody could complain that Bellingham failed to make it in the starting XI, but the midfielder has only got better for Dortmund this season and his superb performance against Andorra on Sunday should definitely raise questions as to whether he will be forcing his way in ahead of the World Cup next year.

Southgate should use tonight’s World Cup qualifier against Poland to give Bellingham the chance to prove himself against a higher quality of opponent and the 18-year-old certainly deserves it after his contribution to Sunday’s victory.

England’s performance over the summer showed how much we are able to rely on our younger players and Bellingham should be right in the middle of that when it comes to next year’s trip to Qatar - if he is to continue improving at his current rate. It is very easy to forget how young he is and how much potential this boy really has.

Central midfield is a position we lack quality in and while Phillips, Rice and Mount have definitely shown their quality in an England shirt, I believe Bellingham has a much higher ceiling and given the time to improve and gain more experience in the Bundesliga, he can easily become one of our most important players.

I don’t think Bellingham is quite ready for a regular spot in the starting XI but the World Cup next winter could definitely be the perfect time to kickstart a long and wonderful international career with the Three Lions.