Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Jude Bellingham says it is ‘nice to give a bit back’ after England criticism

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Jude Bellingham said it is nice to give a “little bit back” as he responded to England’s critics following the side’s dramatic win against Slovakia in the last 16 of Euro 2024.

Bellingham scored a spectacular overhead kick in the 95th minute to equalise before England went on to win 2-1 in extra time and secure a quarter-final against Switzerland on Saturday.

“Playing for England is an enjoyable feeling but it’s also a lot of pressure,” said the Real Madrid midfielder.

“You hear people talk a lot of rubbish. It’s nice when you can deliver and give them a little bit back.”

England progressed through to the knockout stages by finishing top of their group but have been criticised for the manner of their performances.

They beat Serbia 1-0, drew 1-1 with Denmark and were held to a goalless draw by Slovenia prior to the last-16 tie.

England went behind against Slovakia in Gelsenkirchen before Bellingham’s dramatic goal and Harry Kane’s winner sent them through.

“It’s very difficult when you talk in press conferences and interviews to talk as openly as footballers want to because they’re always judged,” added Bellingham, who marked his goal with his trademark open-armed celebration and appeared to mouth, ‘Who else?’

“For me, football, being on the pitch, scoring goals and celebrating is my release. Maybe it was a message to a few people. I was very happy at the end, lots of adrenaline.

“It’s a feeling that is like no other. In international football, in knockout football, it’s even a worse feeling, because you’re 30 seconds from going home.

“Having to listen to all the rubbish, feeling like you have let a nation of people down. In one kick of the ball, everything can change.”

Earlier in the tournament, Kane had called on former England internationals who were now pundits to “remember what it’s like to wear the shirt” before being critical of the current side.

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