Paul Ince believes reported Liverpool target Jude Bellingham has the potential to become a ‘world-class player’ and has compared the 19-year-old to Reds legend Steven Gerrard.
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder is attracting a lot of interest from a number of clubs across Europe, including the FA Cup champions, with numerous reports suggesting that the teenager is Jurgen Klopp’s top transfer target.
The former Birmingham City youngster has flourished since swapping the Championship for the Bundesliga and Ince has explained what he ‘likes’ about the Englishman.
“I think the sky’s the limit for the kid,” the ex-Red told ICE36 Live Casino (via the Liverpool Echo). “I remember watching him at Birmingham and I thought he was going to be a player. Going to Dortmund at such a young age says a lot about his maturity and who he is as a person. I was interested to see how he coped with that move, but since going over there he has been one of Dortmund’s best players. Having played abroad myself for a big club, I know how difficult it can be to settle in – it normally takes a few months, but he seemed to have settled immediately.
“He will only get better and hopefully he will become a world-class player. He still has a lot of learning to do and a long way to go, but the potential is massive. I like the way he plays the game – he can do it all in the midfield – and that is something that is missing in modern-day football. He is an authentic box-to-box midfielder player. He has all the attributes of a six, and eight and a 10.
“These days, most midfielders have a designated position and we haven’t seen many all-rounders, players like Keane, Vieira or Gerrard in their prime, but Bellingham is one of them and he seems like he can do it all. He has everything in his locker, and that’s what I like about him.”
Liverpool supporters are crying out for the club to sign a new midfielder either in January or at the end of the season and Bellingham does appear to have all the attributes required to succeed on Merseyside.
He has impressed for England during the group stages of the World Cup and he’ll be eager to impress once again when the Three Lions face Senegal in the last-16 later today.
“I presume that one day he will come back to play in the Premier League but at the moment he is getting lots of games at Dortmund,” Ince added. “I think he is at the right club in terms of his development.
“I really enjoy watching him play. I’m looking forward to seeing how he performs in the knockout stages against better teams. He will have to raise his game and he will be under pressure, so it will be interesting to see how he copes, but he’s passed every challenge that has been thrown at him.”
Despite there being a lot of interest in the Dortmund No. 22’s signature and the talented midfielder appearing to be ready for a move to the Premier League, he may opt to continue his development in Germany for another 12 months.
He’s valued anywhere in the region of £100-150m at the moment and it’s clear that we’ll have to smash our transfer record if we’re to bring him to Anfield any time soon.
When you consider that he’s just 19 years of age and has the potential to be a mainstay in our midfield for the next ten years, however, it’s a move that would certainly make sense.