Saka urges Bellingham to play with ‘no fear’ for England

Bukayo Saka has told Jude Bellingham to remain fearless following the 17-year-old’s first senior England call-up.

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Bellingham could become the third-youngest player to represent the Three Lions if he makes an appearance in any of the upcoming fixtures.

Gareth Southgate’s side start their triple-header with a friendly against the Republic of Ireland on Thursday night and, if he features, only Theo Walcott and Wayne Rooney would have made their England bows at a younger age than Bellingham.

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The former Birmingham man was promoted from the under-21 squad after injuries saw both Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Ward-Prowse pull out.

Along with Phil Foden and Bellingham’s club-mate Jadon Sancho, Saka is one of four players in the current squad born this century.

The Arsenal youngster made his international debut in the friendly win over Wales last month and already has some words of encouragement for newcomer Bellingham.

“I don’t think he needs a lot of advice,” said the 19-year-old.

“He is doing amazing things, he is playing for Borussia Dortmund and I saw him the other weekend come on against Bayern Munich so he is doing big things.

“He is doing really well so my advice is just to keep going and keep being fearless because as long as he keeps playing with no fear and showing his talent I think he can go far.

“I played with him last month when we went to the England Under-21s and I was very impressed with him.

“On Tuesday he had his first training session with the team and I was impressed with him again, he is so young and it is just good to see that a young player can come into this environment and play so fearlessly.”

Bellingham only made his Birmingham debut last season, with the club retiring his number 22 shirt following his summer move to Germany.

Saka’s development has also been rapid, having broken into the Arsenal side last year and he admits his quick progression to a fully-fledged England international has even caught him out.

“Yes, 100 per cent,” he replied when asked if he was surprised by his speedy rise.

“I didn’t believe it would happen this quickly but I am here and I can only control what is in front of me and just do my best to stay here because obviously this is where I want to be and where I have been working to be.

“All the boys have been so good with me.

“From the first minute I came in Harry Kane put his arm around me, spoke to me and asked me how I was and stuff like that – for him to do stuff like that helped me settle in much quicker and made me feel comfortable to be myself around everyone.”

Mark Smith and Matt Stead know all about disappointments. Join them to discover that Chelsea are the only Big Six club without representation on this week’s top ten.

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