Home News Euro 2024: England manager Southgate gives Bellingham a week off to recharge

Euro 2024: England manager Southgate gives Bellingham a week off to recharge

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Gareth Southgate has given Jude Bellingham the week off to decompress before reporting to his England squad for the Euro 2024 tournament, saying rest was most important for the 20-year-old on the heels of his remarkable La Liga season.

Bellingham helped Real Madrid to wrap up the league title, and to win the Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley on Saturday.

Southgate said he did not consider Bellingham’s absence as a sacrifice to himself or the team this week, when they have friendlies against Bosnia & Herzegovina on Monday and Iceland on Friday.

“It’s not the most important thing,” Southgate told reporters on Sunday after England’s training session at Middlesbrough’s ground. “The most important thing for Jude is rest, recovery, and we will benefit from that.

“That’s the constraints of international football,” he added. “We don’t have the players as often as you do at a club to quite be as cohesive. So, you have to work out what are the most important things. And at this moment in time in my opinion for Jude, and therefore for the team, is time to recover and psychologically switch off.”

Bellingham made his England debut at aged 17 and has 29 caps for his country.

Much has changed for the talented midfielder since he was an unused substitute for Southgate’s team in its loss to Italy on penalties in the Euro 2020 final.

On the heels of scoring 23 goals in his debut season for Madrid across all competitions, Bellingham will shoulder much of England’s lofty ambition at the European Championship in Germany.

“He’s had a fantastic season, to join the biggest club in the world and perform in the way he has throughout the season has been an incredible, incredible year for him,” Southgate said. “Absolutely delighted for him to win (Saturday) night.”

ALSO READ: What Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League win means for the other teams in Europe next season

Asked how Bellingham might spend his downtime before joining the squad, Southgate joked that he would rather not know, then added that the young player would likely cherish time with family after such a demanding club season.

Asked what kind of person Bellingham was, Southgate said he was down to earth.

“You saw him with his family (after Saturday’s victory) and they have to take enormous credit for that, because he is as he comes across in his interviews; he’s authentic in his interviews, that’s how he is every day, whoever he’s interacting with among our staff, among our players,” said the manager.

“He’s got the humility, the understanding. I’m sure joining a big club like Madrid, he recognised he had to earn the respect of people like Luka Modric, Tony Kroos, but he would have also had a little respect on the training pitch for that, and would have attacked that challenge, so that that’s why he’s adapted as well as he has I’m sure.”

Newcastle defender Kieran Trippier, who will captain England in Monday’s match at St. James’ Park, said Bellingham’s maturity was impressive.

“It doesn’t seem like he’s a 20-year-old, he’s so mature for his age, and it comes with pressure as well, especially at Real Madrid and he’s taken it in his stride and fair play to him.

“All the boys are absolutely delighted for him, not just the Champions League but the season he’s had. So, we’re looking forward to meeting with him and hopefully (he) can bring that form with England.” 

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