Graeme Souness and Joe Cole hail ‘outstanding’ Jude Bellingham after England star revels in No 10 role and inspires victory over Scotland at Hampden Park

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  • OLIVER HOLT: Magnificent Jude runs the show as England pass Scotland test
  • Bellingham scored second goal before setting up Harry Kane to notch the third
  • PLAYER RATINGS: Bellingham bossed it and Marcus Rashford was a menace 

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Jude Bellingham produced a dazzling display to orchestrate a euphoric England triumph in Scotland’s backyard last night.

The Real Madrid midfielder was at his brilliant best at Hampden Park, scoring England’s second goal before setting up Harry Kane to notch the third as Gareth Southgate’s men eased home in the 150th anniversary Heritage Match.

Phil Foden set England on their way with the opener before Bellingham struck but Harry Maguire – introduced as a half time substitute – scored an own goal to raise Scotland hopes of an unlikely comeback before captain Kane eased late nerves.

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After the game, Southgate passionately defended Maguire branding the growing negativity surrounding the defender a ‘joke’.

But Bellingham – playing in a No 10 role – was the real story here as he mustered arguably his best performance in an England shirt.

Jude Bellingham was England's star of the show against their old rivals at Hampden Park

Jude Bellingham was England’s star of the show against their old rivals at Hampden Park

The England midfielder (left) was deployed behind Kane in a 4-2-3-1 system against Scotland

The England midfielder (left) was deployed behind Kane in a 4-2-3-1 system against Scotland

‘He was excellent. What was key for Jude was the timing of his forward runs and he has got that ability to slip through challenges and he’s just a brilliant competitor he isn’t concerned about the environment,’ said Southgate, who confirmed Marc Guehi was substituted at half-time with an injury.

Bellingham himself added: ‘I wasn’t happy with how I played in Poland against Ukraine to be honest. I think I showed a level that wasn’t anywhere near my best and I think that’s the motivation really, to try and get back to your best.

‘I think that was close to it tonight. I used the last match as motivation and knew tonight was more than a friendly, for the fans and bragging rights and all those sorts of things so I knew I needed to be near to my best today so the England fans could go home happy.’

Mail Sport columnist Graeme Souness added: ‘This is the first time I’ve seen Jude Bellingham live. When I was in the centre circle before the match, and I’m looking at him. When I was playing, he’d have been a big midfield player. I’d be a small midfielder player today.

‘He’s got everything, that young boy. Absolutely everything. And, at 20 years old, how good can he be? He has that steady head on his shoulders and was outstanding tonight.’

Former England midfielder Joe Cole said: ‘We’ve got a gem, we just need to put him in a system that’ll get the best out of him. 

‘I like it when he plays close to Harry Kane, Graeme likes it when he plays a bit deeper, with someone else in there, but I think he and Harry Kane need to build up an understanding where when Harry drops off, the space is there for him to attack the space and score goals. 

‘He’s got the flavour for goals now, you know, and you look at him in his interview, I think he wants to play closer to the goal. All attacking players do. 

‘I think it’ll be horses for courses, certain games he can play deeper, perhaps if we need to break down a certain team, but knowing Gareth, if he were to play a quarter-final match tomorrow against France, I’m pretty sure he’d go with the sixes and Jude as a 10. But it just gives you options. 

‘I don’t think we’ve had a player of his quality for a very very long time. He is absolute world elite, Ballon d’Or winner possibility.’ 

Bellingham said he had really enjoyed his playing in the No 10 role against Scotland. 

Andy Robertson's attempted clearance fell to Bellingham and he slotted home the second

Andy Robertson’s attempted clearance fell to Bellingham and he slotted home the second

Bellingham set up England captain Harry Kane (second from right) for the third goal late on

Bellingham set up England captain Harry Kane (second from right) for the third goal late on

When asked if it was his best role, he replied: ‘I think tonight was pretty close. It depends on the system that we play and it’s tough because we’ve got so many players to accommodate for and to get the best out of so it shouldn’t really just be built on what I do really well. 

‘The team have to come first always and I do my best to slot in and do what the gaffer wants from me. I think this one was probably a little better suited than the weekend – no hints to the gaffer (laughs) but I really enjoyed playing in that position tonight.’

The Real Madrid star was also pleased to get on the scoresheet. 

He added: ‘I think it’s just a freedom role really more than anything. If you look at my performances in Madrid so far, they’re quite complete because I get given the freedom by the amazing team-mates and coaching staff and manager that I’ve got. They help me be all over the pitch and get into the box to finish the chances and create as well and I think I can do all of that pretty well. I can do it a lot better and that’s what I’m trying to prove to you all.’

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