It was a tough struggle against numerous European heavyweights before Borussia Dortmund was able to announce the signing of Jude Bellingham in July 2020. BVB chief scout Markus Pilawa talks about the long road to the change of the Englishman and his strong debut season in Dortmund.
BVB transferred 23 million euros for the then 16-year-old to the English second division club Birmingham City. In his first season in Dortmund, Bellingham came straight away to 46 competitive appearances, in which he scored four goals and four assists.
In early September 2020, Belllingham also made his debut for the Three Lions U21 national team. Only two months later he was first used in the senior national team and is now also in his home country’s squad for the European Championship.
“We noticed him at a U15 international match for England at the end of 2017, and we then followed him again at the other internationals three months later. The good impression was more than confirmed there, we saw him even better. From then on, it was the matter took its course. “
“You wouldn’t believe it, but the first time I saw him live at an U23 game in Birmingham City, he was still relatively skinny and physically mediocre. So he didn’t stand out for his physical abilities, but he was captain and was smiling The sense of responsibility in the field that we now see here with us, that means: He has taken on an incredible responsibility, had charisma and personality, was courageous and fulfilled certain leadership criteria. He had a feeling for it, as in the central one Midfield the game has to be ordered and an unbelievable rate of work. He wants to pick up the ball as a sixth, bring it to the top in eighth, but in the end also be in the penalty area and complete it. That is also the background of his shirt number 22: It is made up from the 4, the 8 and the 10; the 4 in England is the 6 here in Germany It means that he internalizes all the elements of the game in the central midfield I would like to – and that is exactly what we saw in him and that made a huge impression on us. He dominated midfield with a calm on the ball and lots of ball contacts, he controlled the game. Later he began to grow even further and to build up muscles, so that the components physique and power were added. “
BVB chief scout Markus Pilawa on …
“He said that he wanted to play his first senior minutes for his club in Birmingham because he loves this club. It was not clear whether he would get those minutes, but in the end his wish was fulfilled relatively quickly. It was not a rejection for us . That speaks for him and his personality. “
“We were reasonably certain that he would get enough playing time in the first year. But I admit that we didn’t know how confidently he would handle his situation. There was Corona, the exhausting championship season until the end of July and the Mental strain in the relegation battle with Birmingham. As a young boy he only had a seven-day break and then came here without a vacation and a bit with the pressure of the high transfer fee. So there could have been problems at the beginning of the season, but also there he surprises us. We wanted to give him more breaks, but he didn’t want them. He’s just so clear in his head and has such a strong personality that his development couldn’t seem surprising in the end. But I thought he was first really there for the second half of the season. “
“We discussed with him in advance that Dortmund doesn’t shine with mountains, sea and luxury like maybe other cities he could have gone to. He looked at us and said: Everything is like Birmingham, only you’ll have more sun He wasn’t interested in that, he’s very grown up. I don’t see any problems with adapting to our culture, language or city – not even with his mother, who lives with him in Dortmund. “
“Before he came to us, he was compared to Frank Lampard. There may indeed be parallels. These comparisons with Lampard, including Steven Gerrard, are obvious and I can understand them too. Jude, like these two, has one strong personality, the position is also similar. But he is his own character and his own brand. “
“Of course it was clear to us that he would end up there sooner or later. But we thought that he would go through the U21s for a year beforehand. But just as he skipped a development stage here, he also did it in the national dress.”