Premier League

Jude Bellingham hits back at ‘rubbish’ criticism after steering England to Slovakia victory

Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham has admitted he channelled the ‘rubbish’ criticism aimed at him this week as he celebrated his dramatic stoppage-time equaliser against Slovakia.

A woeful England performance looked to have steered the Three Lions towards elimination from Euro 2024 before Bellingham popped up with an overhead kick in the final minute of stoppage time to send the game to extra time, where a Harry Kane header won the game for Gareth Southgate’s side.

As Bellingham celebrated his spectacular goal, the Real Madrid midfielder appeared to scream “who else?” – a reminder to his critics that he boasts the quality needed to decide games like this.

“It’s a feeling that is like no other,” said Bellingham.

“In international football and in knockout football it’s an even worse feeling because you’re 30 seconds from going home and having to listen to all the rubbish and feeling like you’ve let a nation of people down.

“In 30 seconds or one kick of the ball, everything can change.”

Jude Bellingham

Bellingham saved England late on / Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

Asked to elaborate on his meaning of ‘rubbish’, Bellingham continued: “I think you know what I mean by the rubbish.

“Playing for England, it should be one of the proudest things of a footballer’s career, but often it is quite difficult. There’s a really high intense pressure, the fans expect a lot from us, regardless of what happened in recent tournaments years and years ago. People talk a lot. I think you do have to take it personally a little bit.

“We work so hard at this game, we come in and we train every day so hard to try and put on performances for the fans, sometimes it doesn’t go well and sometimes feels like there’s a bit of a pile-on. It’s not nice to hear but you can always use it for moments like that. It’s nice to throw it back to some people, I suppose.”

Bellingham ended by admitting the goal could end up being one of the best moments of his career if England go on to lift the trophy later this summer.

“It’s got to be up there!” he said. “It’s 30, 20 seconds until we’re out of the European Championships, the mood, in comparison to now, that it would have been is a massive difference, and what it can do for the team going forwards, I think it’s hard to deny that it was one of the most important moments of my career so far.

“We’ll see, though. It’s still a long tournament, it’s only really very important if we go on to win the cup. We’ll decide in the next two weeks how important it is.”

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