Bellingham lifts England over Serbia in Euro opener

SunStar Soccer
SunStar Soccer

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany — Jude Bellingham is the star of Kim Kardashian’s male underwear range, England icon David Beckham mimics his trademark goal celebration, and a Beatles classic has become his anthem as adoring fans serenade him with “Hey Jude” when he’s on the field.

Bellingham, it seems, can do no wrong.

No surprise then that he was the player to get England off to a winning start at the European Championship with a first-half goal to beat Serbia 1-0 in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday.

“Every game I feel like I can make an impact, I feel like I can decide games,” the Real Madrid star said. “I really enjoy playing football so when I go out there, I play with a fearlessness because I love doing it so much. It is a release for me.”

Wearing the No. 10 jersey once adorned by Wayne Rooney, the midfielder stooped to head in Bukayo Saka’s cross in the 13th minute. Bellingham raced away, arms outstretched in a pose Madrid fans have grown to love and Beckham has replicated on social media in tribute to a player who doesn’t turn 21 until later this month.

Bellingham has already done his talking on the field after a spectacular debut season at Madrid where he scored 23 goals, won the Spanish title and the Champions League.

He is also making a splash off of it.

Like Beckham, his appeal goes far beyond soccer. Presumably that was what Kardashian knew after Bellingham was chosen to front the menswear range of her SKIMS underwear. He’s also the star of an advertising campaign for sportswear giant Adidas, which features Beckham, who is just another of Bellingham’s many fans.

So much, so soon for someone so young could be seen as a cause for concern.

But Bellingham is not your average player.

“He writes his own script,” England manager Gareth Southgate said.

Having already played at the last Euros and the World Cup in 2022, Bellingham is the first European player to appear at three major international tournaments before the age of 21, according to statistician, Opta.

His goal was certainly the story of this game - sending England to the top of Group C after Denmark drew 1-1 with Slovenia. Christian Eriksen scored for the Danes - three years after suffering a cardiac arrest on the field at the last Euros. / AP

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