Gareth Southgate has preferred the midfield partnership of Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham for the past year. Despite the recent decline in results for the Three Lions, the duo showed their mettle in the match against Germany. The more experienced Rice has now heaped praises on his 19-year-old partner.
“Even little things, as a 19 year-old you’re 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,” Rice said.
“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. You can see it when he plays for Dortmund, how he get around the pitch. He’s the future of English football to come for the next 15 years if he wants to be.”
Rice is hopeful that they can continue to build a strong understanding in midfield ahead of the FIFA World Cup
He continued: “I hope so. We’ve got so many good players, younger players even coming through now, current players in the squad that aren’t here,
“Every place is up for grabs but every time I play with Jude we’re building that connection and I say to him ‘you go and bomb on and do your attacking stuff and I’ll sit here and defend for you’. So we’re getting that good connection, he’s great to play with.
“Top lad as well, really pushes you on the pitch. We push each other on and it’s a privilege to play next to him. 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 it’s a hard thing to have and I feel like he’s got that.”