Jude Bellingham has a “winning ability” that is taking his game to another level, according to England assistant manager Steve Holland.
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder was one of the Three Lions’ standout performers in their bid for the World Cup quarter-finals, where they face defending champions France on Saturday.
Bellingham launched England’s campaign with the opening goal in a 6-2 draw against Iran, before assisting Jordan Henderson during another impressive display in the round of 16 win against Senegal.
The 19-year-old leads his teammates in dribble completions (six) and possessions won (23) in Qatar, while only Luke Shaw (72) improved on his tally of 48 passes to finish in the final third.
The Netherlands are well aware of the qualities and attributes possessed by top players following his time at Chelsea, where he served as assistant manager with the likes of Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte, Rafael Benitez and Guus Hiddink, and the number two of England believes these traits are evident in Bellinham.
“He’s unique. When you rank the best players – I’ve been lucky enough to try some in eight years at Chelsea – there’s the physical attributes, there’s the technical attributes,” Holland said.
“My experience says that what makes the best, the best is the mentality: the self-confidence, the confidence, the drive, the ambition every day to push and be competitive.
“There were some at Chelsea during my time where I felt I was always there every time in training – [Ashley] Cole, [Frank] lampard, [Didier] Drogba, [John] Terry.
“There were others: players who were perhaps not super gifted physically or even super gifted technically – even if they were of a high level – but the mental aspect took them to a different level of performance.
“Jude has these attributes. There has been a physical evolution over the past 12 months. We watch every game he plays, live or by reviewing the footage.
“We know it very well and there has definitely been a physical evolution because it is still under development. It has taken it to another level.
“There are only three things you can do in football: stop goals, score goals, score goals. That’s how you contribute.
“Jude can do all of these things and recently he’s started scoring goals, which is the part that makes bigger players great. It’s a winning skill that he’s adding to his game.”