FORGET Declan Rice and Mason Mount – the new England bromance is Jordan Henderson and Jude Bellingham.
Except, of course, it’s not a bromance.
Because for all Bellingham’s gifts, this is not a relationship of equals. It’s more like teacher and pupil – for now at least.
The Borussia Dortmund man has been praised for his maturity, on and off the field, but he also respects his elders.
Earlier he had rounded on Henderson’s critics in his TV interview, saying: “It was a brilliant performance.
“I saw some of the rubbish said about him playing, it’s ridiculous.
“He is so underrated technically and he has delivered again in a big game with a massive goal and it’s time he got a bit of respect.”
But for his part Henderson, 32, is refusing to get caught up in the Bellingham love-in.
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Asked about the goal, he said: “I told Jude there was one earlier in the game he fired across for Bukayo and I was on for the cut back.
“Thankfully he listened for that one and I guided it into the corner.”
Listening, learning, improving. Harry Kane, in his post-match press conference, acknowledged Bellingham’s ability and character, but also emphasised how much time the 19-year-old has on his side and how important it will be to use it wisely.
Henderson was 19 when he had his breakthrough season in the Premier League with Sunderland.
So he knows what it’s like to be a highly-rated youngster and what it takes to turn that potential into greatness.
On the flipside, Bellingham may be a coming force in world football but he recognises what Henderson has achieved.
Not even Bellingham’s childhood hero Steven Gerrard can claim to have lifted every major trophy with Liverpool.
Henderson has, and this is his sixth major tournament with England, compared to Gerrard’s five.
Reds fans will be hoping that their skipper is putting in the hard yards trying to persuade the young man to move to Anfield next year.
The word is that he is unlikely to succeed, with Real Madrid in pole position. But if that doesn’t happen, for some reason, Liverpool are the only other club Bellingham is really interested in joining.
Rice and Mount are the same age and grew up together at Chelsea. It’s no wonder they are so close as they live out their boyhood dreams together and in opposition.
Henderson was born in a different era for football and the world, 13 years before Bellingham.
But right now, they are England’s power couple.
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