England manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed that 17-year-old Jude Bellingham will win his first senior cap for his country against Ireland tonight.
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder has been called up for the first team after an impressive start to his career in Germany, following a summer transfer move from Birmingham.
“My initial conversation with him was that you'll have a few days with us, we'll involve you in the game," Southgate said ahead of this evening's match. "We'll see how it goes, and that's going to be a brilliant experience for him.
“It’s always interesting to see the reaction when we select a player, because people are immediately talking about other players without understanding why we’ve called Jude up.
Bellingham's inclusion comes after Southgate opted not to call up Ross Barkley or James Maddison and the England boss has explained that decision.
“It’s not a decision that he’s a better player than one or two older players who I’ve seen mentioned, although those players don’t play in the position that he plays. And that’s a fact.
“We could flippantly say, ‘Well, he’s playing for a massive club and he’s playing Champions League football’, but there’s actually a bit more to it than that.
“The bigger picture here is a great opportunity to bring another young player with us that is going to benefit England for the long-term."
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