Jude Bellingham becomes youngest ever player at European Championships

Jude Bellingham has become the youngest ever player to feature at a European Championships after making his major tournament debut off the bench against Croatia.

England eased towards a 1-0 victory that settled the nerves at Wembley, Raheem Sterling’s strike separating the sides in the Group D opener. Gareth Southgate’s team looked a little unsure of themselves at times, but were in control for the most part, and Southgate felt comfortable giving Bellingham some minutes late on.

With 82 minutes on the clock, it was a proud moment for the 17-year-old, who replaced Harry Kane and helped England see out an important victory.

And in doing so, he made history by becoming the youngest ever player to feature at a European Championship. At 17 years and 349 days, he cleared the record set by Holland’s Jetro Willems, who was 18 years and 71 days old when he made his bow at Euro 2012.

It may not be a record that stands for long, however. Poland’s Kacper Kozlowski, who joins Bellingham in 90min’s Our 21, is younger by around 15 weeks, so he will set the record if he appears at Euro 2020. He is expected to get a run out at some stage against Slovakia.

But that doesn’t detract from Bellingham, who holds the record for now, and continues to make history in an England shirt.

The ex-Birmingham midfielder became England’s third youngest ever player when he made his debut last year, with only Theo Walcott and Wayne Rooney beating his record of 17 years and 75 days.

Now starring for Borussia Dortmund, he is expected to have a huge role to play for his country in the years ahead, and will likely see some more action against Scotland and the Czech Republic – especially if England continue their winning start to the tournament.