Scotland 1-3 England- ‘Complete package’ Jude Bellingham puts concluding flourish on world-class performance

The applause was grudging and the words of praise spoken in hushed tones, but it was a measure of how England’s Jude Bellingham ruled Hampden Park that even some Scotland fans were finally prepared to set rivalry aside to acknowledge his brilliance.

Bellingham’s vision and touch put the concluding flourish on a performance of world-class quality by creating Harry Kane’s late goal, setting the seal on a comfortable 3-1 win in this celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first meeting between Scotland and England.

It was then that a brave few Scotland fans – only a few mind you – put their hands together in appreciation for a masterclass from 20-year-old Bellingham.

There was no shame in Scotland being run ragged by Bellingham, who played a part in England’s first goal scored by Phil Foden then scored the second himself after an awful error by Scotland captain Andrew Robertson, as he has been ripping up La Liga since his summer move to Real Madrid.

It was Bellingham who felt the full force and fury of Hampden Park when he came towards the touchline for a drink seconds before kick-off and was given some colourful analysis of his ability by fired up Scotland fans.

Bellingham was the target for some initial Scotland efforts to test his temperament and knock him out of his stride, but he has the edge to go with his natural gifts, rode out that early storm and simply played on a different level to everyone else on the pitch.

He has elegance and power, and can create and score goals. Bellingham is, quite simply, the complete package. England manager Gareth Southgate has a truly special talent on his hands, a player who will be the envy of any other country in world football.

Bellingham, as he admitted himself, was below his usual standards during Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Ukraine in Wroclaw, but everything about his body language and intent when in possession screamed of someone laser-focused on ensuring that would not happen again.

England’s overall display was much more cohesive and threatening than the dull offering in Poland, with Manchester City’s Foden making the most of his opportunity and Kane applying the final blow to Scotland.

The build-up to the game carried all the hallmarks of this great old rivalry with noise, colour, pyrotechnics and a rousing rendition of Flower Of Scotland to stir the blood of Scottish fans – not that it needed much stirring once they caught sight of England’s white shirts.

Bellingham was the name on everyone’s lips, even reluctantly among the small band of Scotland fans who chose to publicly appreciate England’s superstar – belatedly and once the game was lost, admittedly.

Southgate knew this was an awkward assignment, not simply because Scotland have improved under the excellent guidance of Steve Clarke to the extent that they look as certain to qualify for Euro 2024 as their adversaries from across the border, but also because this game always carries meaning and fierce competitiveness.

Scotland have closed the gap but this demonstrated that it remains a considerable one, as proved by the manner of England’s win and how they clearly contained all the high-class performers in this game.

One other England player, apart from Bellingham, was acknowledged by Scotland’s supporters but this was in loud and ironic fashion and again flagged up a long-term dilemma for Southgate.

When Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi went off at half-time, Southgate chose not to use AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori or throw in Chelsea’s Levi Colwill.

Harry Maguire (right) scores an own goal while playing for England against Scotland
Maguire (right) has made 59 appearances for England since his debut in 2017

Kesh Awefada

Kesh Awefada

Read Previous


Read Next