I’m not fully on board the Jude Bellingham hype train, well not just yet anyway.
However I will say that it is great to know that if this does turn out to be something special, emphasis on the word ‘if’ there, at least we’ll be able to look back and say just how great the first few months of his career were (disappointing result against Portsmouth on his debut aside).
Whilst his first goal for the club against Stoke was his sort of ‘coming out party’, I feel that the huge deflection took away from the moment somewhat. This goal though had a different feel to it, a much more accomplished finish with a perfectly timed run into the box and it was against a team near the top of the table rather than a team near the bottom.
However, as I’ve been saying in recent weeks, we just need to keep our expectations on this lad steady. Whilst I want him to go on and have a great career for us, I just want to see if this success can be dragged out over a period of time rather than in a short burst.
It’s something that the manager is aware of as well. Speaking after the win against Charlton, Pep Clotet spoke about Jude Bellingham’s development. When asked whether or not it was ‘impossible’ to drop Bellingham, he responded:
“No, it’s possible. We all need to remember I have a duty (of care), the Club does. As I said after the last time against Stoke, I know the fans want me to play him always. I took a bit of a risk to play him. I will use him for the best of his abilities and for the best of Birmingham City, but I will always try to handle the risk because he is a talent for us and that’s the right thing to do. But he was the perfect player for that role and position we wanted on Saturday. So I took that risk.”
And that is exactly the perfect approach that the club need to take on him in my view. He knows that he has to be careful with how he uses him, and in my mind the fans need to be wary of it as well. We know what burnout can do to young players, and I don’t want him to mess up what looks like a promising career because of mismanagement at an early age.
What about you? Do you think that his display on Saturday was enough to convince you that he should play a lot more regularly? Or do you think that he should be introduced a little more gradually going forward?