‘Bellingham looked like he had played 100 games’ – Ex-Birmingham coach says Dortmund star was always set for the top

Mike Dodds has seen the midfielder’s qualities up close and says he “can achieve anything he wants” in the game if he continues on his trajectory

Former Birmingham City coach Mike Dodds says Jude Bellingham was always destined for the top and that he “looked like he had played 100 games” when he made his debut at St Andrew’s.

Bellingham quickly rose to stardom after breaking into Birmingham’s senior squad in 2019 at the age of just 16, with his first appearance for the club coming in an EFL Cup clash against Portsmouth in August that year.

The England international went on to feature in 44 games for the Blues before being snapped up by German giants Dortmund in 2020 where he has further enhanced his reputation as one of the best young players in Europe, and Dodds believes there is “no limit” to what he can go on and achieve.

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What was said?

The ex-Birmingham coach told Goal and DAZN: “Last year, at the end of the season, I briefly coached with the first team, so I actually did his first and last training session at Birmingham.

“He was the youngest player to ever play for our first team, and he looked like he had made a hundred league games. He was so calm, as if he had been born for this stage.

“When he got into the first team, we knew that his time with us was limited. He always needs the next challenge. If he doesn’t have that, he’ll get frustrated.

“You can put him in any environment. He’ll punch his way through. Everything. I think he can do everything – and I’m not just saying that. He has everything you can ask a midfielder to do. There is no limit on the pitch. He can achieve anything he wants. It’s the real love for football that makes it so good.”

Bellingham’s first season at Dortmund

Bellingham was handed his maiden start for Dortmund in a DFB-Pokal meeting with third-tier MSV Duisburg on September 14, and he managed to record his first goal for the club during the 5-0 victory.

The 17-year-old has since racked up 27 appearances across all competitions and although he has yet to increase his goal tally, he is now fully established as a key member of Edin Terzic’s squad.

What’s next?

Bellingham could be in line to feature again when Dortmund take on Sevilla in the first leg of their last 16 Champions League tie on Wednesday night.

The young playmaker featured in all six of Dortmund’s group stage games, and played 71 minutes during their most recent Bundesliga outing against Hoffenheim on Saturday which ended in a 2-2 draw.

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