It has looked like a dream start to professional football for Birmingham City’s Jude Bellingham.
The 16-year-old has fought his way into Pep Clotet’s starting line up and popped up with some crucial goals for the Blues.
It is fair to say Bellingham deserves at least some of the credit for the fact Birmingham sit eighth in the Championship after seven games.
The teenager has unsurprisingly received praise for his start to the season, none more so than from teammate Dan Crowley.
Speaking to Birmingham Live, Crowley described the player as “unbelievable” and compared him to England and Tottenham Hotspur star Dele Alli.
He said: “I used to play with and against Dele Alli and he reminds me of Dele.
“He’s smart and the fact he has so much to learn and plays like that, it felt just like Dele. Dele progressed in the league and I think Jude can be up there.”
On the back of Crowley’s comments, we put a spotlight on Bellingham’s start to life in the Blues first-team to see if he was deserving of the praise.
The 16-year-old made his professional debut against Portsmouth in the Carabao Cup and has gone on to make three Championship appearances since. In total, Bellingham has played 237 minutes for Clotet’s side this season and has wasted no time in turning some heads.
Despite his short career so far, the midfielder has established himself as someone who can step up and score important goals. Against Stoke, he saw his outside the box strike deflect into the back of the Potters net to earn the Blues the three points, while he produced a composed finish to score the winner against Charlton Athletic on Saturday.
A versatile midfielder that has played in multiple positions across the midfield for Birmingham already, Bellingham has shown he is similar to Alli in the way he bursts into the box from deeper positions, as evidenced by his five touches in the opposition box.
It would perhaps be understandable for a 16-year-old to struggle a bit to look after possession early on in his career but the Blues man has not suffered such a problem and has had a pass success rate of 77.5%.
Particularly impressive, and another similarity to Alli, is his positivity with the ball at his feet, having had a 75% pass success rate with his eight passes to the final third.
Bellingham has turned heads with his attacking contributions so far but his defensive work should not be ignored. The teenager is a hard worker off the ball and has made eight interceptions and 10 recoveries so far this season.
It is a big statement compare Bellingham to a player like Alli, who has played in World Cups and Champions League finals, but the quality he has shown in his impressive start to the season is undeniable.
The Blues appear to have a real talent on their hands and it will be really interesting to him develop this season.
I’m sure the Birmingham club will be hoping he takes a similar approach to Alli and decides to take his time before making a move to a big club.