18 years old, playing for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga and starring for England at the Euros. You could forgive Jude Bellingham if he let his startling success go to his head a little.
But it seems he’s still that quiet lad from the West Midlands at heart.
Bellingham was a 65th minute substitute for Gareth Southgate’s side as they charged to a 4-0 victory over Ukraine and booked their spot in the Euro 2020 semi-finals. But before he allowed himself to get right in among the celebrations with his teammates, the youngster had some other business to attend to.
Having spotted a group of Birmingham fans among the travelling England support, Bellingham made a point of thanking them by giving them his shirt.
The heartwarming clip has circulated far and wide on social media, and the fans – sporting an England flag which reads ‘BCFC’ – appear even more jubilant than they were when the final whistle went and confirmed England’s passage to the last four.
Bellingham stars for England nowadays, but it wasn’t so long ago that he was coming through the ranks at Birmingham. The Stourbridge native joined his boyhood club at Under-8 level, and became their youngest ever player when he made his first-team debut in 2019.
His winner off the bench against Stoke City that season made him Birmingham’s youngest ever goalscorer at 16 years and 63 days, and he went on to make 44 appearances for the club before Borussia Dortmund came calling.
Rejecting interest from clubs in the Premier League, Bellingham decided to emulate Jadon Sancho by heading to Germany, and it’s a decision that has paid off with interest. He’s played 46 times for Dortmund, and done enough in his time in the Bundesliga to convince Southgate he is already good enough to play for his country.
He only turned 18 in June, and was briefly the youngest ever player at the European Championships before 17-year-old Kacper Kozlowski – another of 90min’s Our 21 – appeared for Poland.