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2022 World Cup | Yaya Touré heaps praise on England star while drawing comparisons to former greats

The upcoming clash between England and France offers another chance for a particular Three Lions starlet to submit his credentials as one of the top players in Europe


Former Manchester City star and current Tottenham youth academy coach Yaya Touré has lavished praise on England starlet Jude Bellingham in the run-up to the Three Lions’ clash with Didier Deschamps’ vaunted France outfit on Saturday night, likening the 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund wunderkind to a trio of former England greats.

The Ivorian talisman spent eight years on the blue half of Manchester, lining up against a host of top-level talent during his immensely influential spell in the Premier League, with Bellingham now drawing comparisons with Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, and Paul Scholes in Touré's mind when he recently spoke with The Athletic about the mercurial English midfielder.

“The goal [against Iran] reminds me of [Steven] Gerrard, [Frank] Lampard, [Paul] Scholes. Maybe more Scholes. Big players who smell a chance, see the gap in a defense and just go into it” Touré remarked.

“These types of players force opponents to not just worry about the forwards. They have to worry about Bellingham too, because his running from the second line is brilliant. He doesn’t look 19. He looks like a player who has been playing at a high level for a long period. He’s going to be one of the best midfielders in the world and he’s showing his talent already.”

That assessment of Bellingham certainly falls in line with analysis both from not just an English and German perspective given how he has taken the Bundesliga by storm across the last two-and-a-half years, but many outside of those two spheres of influence have now seen Bellingham flying in English colors on the international stage this winter under Gareth Southgate after the top manager in England has given the Stourbridge native license to be free in the center of the park.

While much of the talk of the quarterfinal clash between England and France is dominated by the talk surrounding Les Bles standard-bearer Kylan Mbappé, Deschamps has a similar question to answer in how he plans to stop Bellingham on Saturday at Al-Bayt Stadium. Should France fail in that task, England could well find themselves in preparations for their second-consecutive semi-final at the World Cup.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.



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