England 2-2 Belgium: Bellingham delighted to have silenced the critics with late equaliser

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Jude Bellingham revelled in his last-gasp equaliser for England as they drew 2-2 with Belgium at Wembley tonight.

The Three Lions twice trailed thanks to Youri Tielemans’ brilliant double, but Ivan Toney’s penalty – his first goal for his country on his maiden start – and an injury-time strike from Bellingham prevented England suffering back-to-back defeats following Saturday’s loss to Brazil.

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The Real Madrid man was delighted the critics didn’t have the chance to get their teeth into England with Euro 2024 looming large.

He told Channel 4: “I liked it. I knew the rubbish we would’ve got if we had lost two games on the bounce. 

“We should be winning with all the chances we’ve made. But these are two games that will stand us in good stead. I know people will be negative but we have to take the positives.”

There were plenty of encouraging signs for boss Gareth Southgate, most notably the performance of 18-year-old Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, who like Toney, was named in the starting line-up for the first time.

Bellingham said: “He was good tonight. It’s difficult, I’m speaking like the old head and I know there’s a clamour [for him to be picked] but he is definitely a brilliant player and he will have a great future for Manchester United and hopefully for England too.”

England were missing a host of first-team regulars, including the likes of captain Harry Kane, Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire and Bukayo Saka.

That led to numerous changes but Bellingham was impressed with how the stand-in players seized their opportunities.

“You trust everyone that comes into the squad and they are all in there because they are good players,” he said. 

“It’s hard for the gaffer, you plan these games because you expect a fit team. I’m sure the manager will be happy with how we played. You’re never happy with a loss or a draw but we have to be happy with how we played.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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