Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden can star for England at Euro 2020 after outshining Erling Haaland

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Dan Kilpatrick
·2-min read
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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City was preceded by Erling Haaland's grand tour of European super clubs.

Haaland's agent Mino Raiola and father Alfe-Inge made stops at Barcelona and Real Madrid to discuss the 20-year-old's summer options and the timing was no accident, creating more buzz around the striker before the meeting with another potential employer in City.

But over two gripping legs of football, Haaland was surprisingly subdued, only once setting the pulses racing with a surge past Ruben Dias in City's 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium last week.

As City progressed to a semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain with another win by the same scoreline in Germany on Wednesday night, Haaland barely registered.

Instead, it was Dortmund's Jude Bellingham who dazzled in a coming-of-age performance that suggests he is equally worthy of attention.

Given he is still just 17, Bellingham's display on Thursday night was remarkable, particularly during a first half in which he scored a superb, instinctive strike, cleared an effort off the line and covered more ground than any other player.

His first Champions League goal, which followed his first in the Bundesliga at the weekend, was fully deserved, particularly after he had an effort cruelly ruled out in Manchester, and he was as composed and intelligent with the ball as he was tireless without it.

The failure to keep Bellingham in the country last summer appears increasingly careless by the Premier League's top clubs but his progress at Dortmund is to the national team's gain.

The FA worked hard to negotiate a quarantine exemption for Bellingham so he could join the England squad for last month's World Cup qualifiers but Gareth Southgate only used him from the bench against San Marino, and the manager's rhetoric suggested this summer's European Championship may come too soon for the teenager.

Southgate increasingly has little choice but to include him in the squad.

Bellingham is blossoming into one of the finest No8s in the world and has proven unfazed by the biggest stages. Forget his age, look at his talent and temperament.

The only strong argument against not starting Bellingham against Croatia on June 13 is the remarkable depth of talent available to Southgate, including Phil Foden, who was equally eye-catching on Wednesday night and scored City's second goal after Riyad Mahrez's penalty had settled their nerves.

The more they play, the more Bellingham and Foden appear potential stars of England's Euros campaign rather than simply supporting actors.

Wednesday was City's night but it could still be Bellingham's year.

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