It’s another article about expectations I’m afraid.
Following on from what I said the other day in the aftermath of the Swansea City defeat, we need to look at them again. This time though, I’m not talking about the team as a whole, but rather one player specifically.
Jude Bellingham has burst onto the scene somewhat at the start of the season. He made his debut for the club in the Carabao Cup defeat to Portsmouth earlier in the month, and became the youngest player to ever play for the club in the process, surpassing the record set by Trevor Francis. He’s since gone on to make his league debut against Swansea this past weekend.
In the process he’s received plenty of plaudits, most recently from ex Birmingham player David Cotterill taking time to praise him after making his league debut. He was even making waves before the season started with FourFourTwo naming him in their ‘50 most exciting teenagers in English football’.
All this talk got me thinking. How careful do we need to be with this young man? Are we expecting too much from him too early? Should he even be near the first team picture already?
I think it’s dangerous putting him into the team already at such a young age. Unless you are an exceptional talent, which although he has some impressive highlights, I’m not 100% sure if that’s going to translate well in league that is so competitive.
With the manager currently struggling to win fans over at the moment with his style of play, how much credit can he realistically get by playing a 16-year-old, particularly if it’s just cameo appearances here and there? Unless he is guaranteed to get you goals or assists and provide some tangible benefit to the first team squad, he’s better off continuing his development in the youth setup, or perhaps on loan somewhere.
What do you think? Do you think Bellingham has a part to play in the immediate future at St Andrew’s? Or do you think he’d be better served taking a step away from the, somewhat limited limelight?