Former Birmingham City manager Lee Clarke has claimed to Tribal Football that he recognised Jude Bellingham’s talents from an early age after watching the club’s academy side.
Bellingham shot to fame when he became the club’s youngest ever player back in August 2019 and went on to impress heavily for the Midlands outfit before making a big move to German giants Borussia Dortmund last summer.
Clark was manager at the time of Bellingham’s progression through the youth set up at St. Andrews and admits he noticed the midfielder’s talents when he was playing for one of their younger age groups.
Writing in his column for Tribal Football, the ex-Blues boss stated the following:
“Jude Bellingham is a player I know from my time as manager of Birmingham City. He was in the academy then, an outstanding player.
“They knew [about his talent] even then at the age of nine. My son was in the same group as his brother Jobe and he would come back and talk about Jude, and I used to go watch the academy almost every night. I’d see all the boys that were there.”
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In the end the Birmingham academy product would turn out for the first team on just 44 occasions after coming through the ranks and has now gone on to be recognised heavily at national level with England ahead of Euro 2020 this summer.
It is clear that Bellingham was a player that was talked about highly long before he made the step up to playing in the Championship for the Blues and as a result it is no surprise to see Clark speaking of him so highly.
He is one of the most exciting young English prospects right now and I for one am really keen to see him continue to flourish at both club and international level in the years to come.
His stock will no doubt rise even more now that he plays for one of the biggest sides in Europe and I wouldn’t put it past him to embark on another lucrative move further down the line if he continues to improve.
Birmingham will no doubt be proud of the role they played in his development and will be watching his career from afar, almost like proud parents.