- OLIVER HOLT: Gorgeous Jude runs the show as England take Scotland test
- Bellingham scored the second goal before allowing Harry Kane to score the third
- PLAYER RATINGS: Bellingham took the lead and Marcus Rashford was a threat
Jude Bellingham produced a dazzling display to orchestrate a euphoric England triumph in Scotland’s backyard last night.
The Real Madrid midfielder was at his best at Hampden Park, scoring England’s second goal before setting up Harry Kane to score the third as Gareth Southgate’s men headed home in the Heritage Match of 150th anniversary.
Phil Foden got England on track with the opener before Bellingham struck, but Harry Maguire – introduced as a half-time substitute – scored an own goal to give Scotland hope of a comeback unlikely before captain Kane eased his late nerves.
After the match, Southgate passionately defended Maguire, calling the growing negativity surrounding the defender a “joke”.
But Bellingham – playing a No.10 role – was the real story here as he put in arguably his best performance in an England shirt.
Jude Bellingham was England’s star of the show against their old rivals at Hampden Park
The England midfielder (left) was deployed behind Kane in a 4-2-3-1 system against Scotland.
Your browser does not support iframes.
“He was excellent. What was key for Jude was the timing of his forward runs and he has this ability to overcome challenges and he’s just a brilliant competitor, he doesn’t worry about the environment,” said Southgate, who confirmed that Marc Guehi had been substituted at half-time with an injury.
Bellingham himself added: “To be honest, I wasn’t happy with the way I played in Poland against Ukraine.” I think I showed a level that was far from my best and I think that’s really the motivation, to try to get back to my best level.
“I think it was close to that tonight. I used the last game as motivation and I knew tonight was more than just a friendly, for the fans and bragging rights and all those sorts of things, so I knew I had to be close to my best today so England fans can go home happy.
Mail Sport columnist Graeme Souness added: “This is the first time I’ve seen Jude Bellingham live. When I was in the center circle before the match, and I watch him. When I was playing he would have been a great midfielder. I would be a small midfielder today.
“He has everything, this young boy. Absolutely everything. And at 20, how good can he be? He has this tough head on his shoulders and he was exceptional tonight.
Former England midfielder Joe Cole said: “We have a gem, we just need to put him in a system that will get the best out of him.”
“I like when he plays close to Harry Kane, Graeme likes when he plays a little deeper, with someone else inside, but I think he and Harry Kane need to come to an understanding of where when Harry stops, the space is “there for him to attack space and score goals.
“He has a taste for goals now, you know, and you watch him in his interview, I think he wants to play closer to goal. All the attacking players do that.
“I think it will be horses for courses, some games he can play deeper, maybe if we need to break down a certain team, but knowing Gareth, if he were to play a quarter-final tomorrow against France, I’m I’m pretty sure he would pick the six and Jude the 10. But that just gives you options.
“I don’t think we’ve had a player of his quality for a long, long time. He’s the absolute world elite, possibility of winning the Ballon d’Or.
Bellingham said he really enjoyed his role as number 10 against Scotland.
Andy Robertson’s attempted clearance fell to Bellingham and he headed home the second
Bellingham set up England captain Harry Kane (second right) for the third goal late in the match
When asked if it was his best role, he replied: “I think tonight it was pretty tight. It depends on the system we use and it’s difficult because we have so many players to welcome and make the most of, so it shouldn’t really be built solely on what I do very well.
“The team must always come first and I do my best to fit in and do what the coach expects of me. I think this one was probably a bit better suited than the weekend – no reference to the manager (laughs) but I really enjoyed playing in that position tonight.
The Real Madrid star was also delighted to get on the scoresheet.
He added: “I think it’s just a role of freedom, really more than anything. If you look at my performances in Madrid so far, they are quite complete because I get the freedom from my incredible teammates, my coaching team and my manager. They help me to be everywhere on the pitch and get into the box to finish chances and create as well and I think I can do all that quite well. I can do much better and that’s what I’m trying to prove to you all.