Rio Ferdinand believes Jude Bellingham will be thinking he has “already outgrown Borussia Dortmund”.
Bellingham is one of football’s most talented young players and has been linked to a move to Liverpool next summer.
He was runner-up to Barcelona’s Pedri in the 2021 Kopa Trophy – presented to the best player under the age of 21 – and was named in the Bundesliga Team of the Season in May.
“He will probably be sitting there at the moment thinking, without being too arrogant, ‘I have probably outgrown Borussia Dortmund already’,” former Manchester United and England defender Ferdinand told BT Sport ahead of Dortmund’s match against Manchester City.
“With all due respect, he will think, ‘I could be a year behind when I should have left’. I think he has got that self-belief to take him to those [bigger] heights.”
He added: “When you look at young players, it is easy to pick up moments and easy to pick up a shot or a bit of skill.
“It is showing them to do those consistent fundamentals in the game over and over again. Once you repeat that, it is like the great tennis players.
“It is not all about that backhand down the line that just wins the point in the end for someone like [Roger] Federer.
“The consistency which he gets it back and make the opponent have to keep hustling and being in the point all the time.
“He does the basics always really well. Then he will have that bit of sauce on top of it as well.”
Bellingham quickly became a Dortmund first-team regular when he joined from Birmingham City in 2020.
He starred in their 4-2 loss to City in the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season and has been tipped by Owen Hargreaves to do so again.
“Jude is like a Swiss army knife, he can do everything. He can play further forward, deeper, he can pass it,” said former England midfielder Hargreaves. “He’s physical and aggressive.
“He will be important because he will get them up the pitch and want to show them this is his stage and show he is the real deal.
“Last time they played City, he was probably the best player in both games, that is very rare for a young kid.”
Joleon Lescott agrees with Hargreaves, adding he is the most versatile England midfielder which could be important at the Qatar World Cup in November.
“He is probably the most equipped English midfielder at the moment that can play all the roles in midfield comfortably and exceptionally well,” said ex-England defender Lescott.
“I think he is able to pass between lines, to be seen cover the ball, tackle well, read the game but also score.
“Tenacious in tackles, he wants to drive and show his power. For a man so young, with his physical presence and football understanding is very unique.”