Bellingham focused on winning everything as he targets trophies not records
Jude Bellingham says his career arc is evidence of the mindset that anything is possible as the England teenager looks to win it all.
From homegrown hero with Birmingham to teenage star at German giants Borussia Dortmund, the 19-year-old midfielder’s inexorable rise shows few signs of abating.
There are few more exciting prospects in world football than Bellingham, who has already established himself as a key component for trophy-hungry England and was named Bundesliga Player of the Year after just missing out on the league title.
He said: “The goal has always been winning. When you ask me what my biggest ambitions are in the game, it’s to win everything. And I’m not afraid to say that.
“You know, everyone should have that goal I feel like as professional footballers.
“I’ll do my best to try and make it happen and if it doesn’t then it won’t be because I haven’t worked hard for it.
“But, yeah, I’d say records and stuff and individual records don’t excite me like trophies do, so I think that’s the goal for me.”
Bellingham, who was speaking before the Bundesliga finale, knows individual honours and records may well come along the years, with England team-mates often suggesting he could break Peter Shilton’s 125-cap record given he has made 24 appearances already.
But accomplishments like that are at the back of his mind as he looks to maximise his ability and opportunities.
“Football’s my life, really,” said Bellingham, who hopes to inspire the next generation in his role as ambassador for the McDonald’s Fun Football programme – a programme that provides free, inclusive football coaching for children aged five to 11 across more than 1,500 locations in the UK.
“I think I’ve put too much into it so far just to stop and accept that I’m going to play at a certain level and only going to win so much.
“So, I feel like the mentality that my parents and friends around me have always put into me is go after everything.”
That mindset and his whirlwind journey to date means he has little chance to take stock on his career – something he hopes to do with family and friends this summer.
“There are things I had to deal with as part of German life,” Bellingham said of the move to Dortmund in 2020.
“I probably dealt with that more behind the scenes than in front of cameras and stuff like that, so I’m really grateful that I had such good people around me.
“I had good club staff at the time, obviously I had Jadon (Sancho) who was here before me from England and he kind of showed me the ropes and made me feel comfortable. As soon as I was comfortable, really, I just let my football do the talking.”
Bellingham has certainly done that, thriving in BVB’s famous black and yellow shirt with his leadership qualities helping him to become the youngest ever player to captain the side.
“I think the key to that has been availability,” Bellingham said in a self-deprecating manner.
“I think because I’m available a lot of the time it means that I’m on the pitch and I can show what I do every game. Whilst the team around me gets rotated, I’m more of a mainstay.
“I think you gain respect from that, in all honesty, and obviously my performance has been good enough to warrant that.
“The coach must have seen other things that he likes to give me that responsibility and whenever I’ve played, I don’t think the armband changes me.
“So, yeah, you’re taking a little bit more responsibility, but I enjoy it. It’s a beautiful pressure that you want on you that I wanted since I started playing football.
“Especially in the Champions League games – it’s the biggest stage, for me – and to have that pressure is really enjoyable.”
Bellingham takes a lot of pride in his path from St Andrew’s to Signal Iduna Park.
Life in Germany has been eye-opening and his success there has silenced those that attempted to dissuade him from fulfilling his lofty aspirations.
When put to Bellingham that he seems to have the mentality that anything is possible, he said: “Well, I think that I am kind evidence of that, really.
“I think if I didn’t have that mentality I wouldn’t have been able to get from the Championship to where I’m at now, thankfully, in the space of two or three years.
“When you’re saying it three years ago everyone’s calling you naive and telling you that you need to slow down a little bit.
“But when you put your mind to it and you work hard at it, it doesn’t seem so crazy when it actually happens. So that’s the goal for me to try and continue to chase my dreams.”
:: Jude Bellingham was speaking at a McDonald’s Fun Football session to announce his role as an ambassador for the UK’s largest grassroots participation programme for 5-11 year-olds. Find your nearest free session at www.mcdonalds.co.uk/football