BERLIN: Two days after the heartbreak of watching his team lose the German title in the last match, Dortmund’s teenage midfielder Jude Bellingham was on Monday named Bundesliga player of the season. The 19-year-old England international collected most votes in a ‘Team of the Season’ poll. Bellingham, who suffered a late-season knee injury, was an unused substitute as Dortmund drew 2-2 at home to Mainz on Saturday to allow Bayern Munich to take top spot on goal difference.
Bellingham appeared in 31 of his team’s 34 games starting in 30, 2,693 league minutes, the most of any player at the club, scoring eight goals and providing four assists. “Every year or half year that I’ve played at the club, my responsibility in the team has increased,” he was quoted as saying on the Bundesliga site. “I came to the club as a talented lad, but I have added elements to my game that have taken it to the next level.”
“I have to continue to be everywhere on the pitch and try my best to contribute going forwards and backwards and try and control games, try to dominate the midfield,” he said. “I want my teammates to see that I’m always doing everything I can to make sure we win. If we lose a game, I’m the worst person.” The midfielder, who signed for Dortmund at 17 from English Championship team Birmingham City for 29 million euros ($32 million), had a starring role in England’s midfield at the World Cup last year, and has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid or Manchester City in the summer.
When he led his team out at Cologne in October, Bellingham became the youngest match captain since the Bundesliga started recording the data in 1995. His coach Edin Terzic called Bellingham “the oldest 19-year-old in the world”. According to Bundesliga statistics, over the season, Bellingham, also covered more distance (322 km) than any of his teammates and won 482 ‘duels’, a league high. Bellingham was one of four Dortmund players in the team of the season selected by a vote of ‘fans, clubs and experts’. — AFP