He plays like a man, think like a man and acts like a man – Declan Rice claims Chelsea target is future of English football for the next 15 years

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West Ham captain Declan Rice has hailed Jude Bellingham as the future of English football, as the rumours continue to intensify about his future.

Bellingham impressed for England again during the recent international break, starting alongside Rice against Italy and Germany.

The 19-year-old put on a strong performance for the Three Lions, as he controlled the midfield, to help the hosts come back from 2-0 down, to earn a 3-3 draw at Wembley.

Bellingham’s performances have drawn praise from both Gareth Southgate and some of his colleagues, with Rice the latest to heap accolades on the Borussia Dortmund midfielder. 

Rice told the Mirror: “I don’t think I’ve seen anyone as good as he is for 19. I look at a lot of 19 year-olds, whether it’s at a club, around the world, around the country. To have the whole package is a hard thing … and I feel like he’s got that.

“He’s 19 but he’s got the body of a 28-year-old – he’s a man. He thinks like a man, plays like a man and shows personality and character. I’ve been around and played so many more games than he has in my career but you can just tell as a 19-year-old what he brings to the team already, the energy he’s got. He can play in a holding role, he can play as an eight, he can play as a 10.

“He’s a man – you can see it when he plays for Dortmund. As a 19-year-old, you’re normally scared to talk to the referee but he’s in the referee’s face demanding answers, demanding decisions and he leaves himself on the pitch constantly. He really pushes you on the pitch. We push each other on and it’s a privilege to play next to him.

“Hopefully, he keeps flourishing. He’s the future of English football to come for the next 15 years.”

The likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City have all been linked with a move for Bellingham. Chelsea were even linked with the young midfielder while he was still a Birmingham player.