Having played a central role in Borussia Dortmund's dramatic comeback against Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 18, Jude Bellingham's career continues to go from strength to strength.
Bellingham got Dortmund back on level terms during their 3-2 win in Frankfurt - where they trailed 2-0 with 20 minutes to go - heading home his third league goal of the season in his 45th Bundesliga appearance overall.
It's a good time, then, for bundesliga.com to have an exclusive talk with the 18-year-old. Bellingham discussed his mentality, how to stop Bayern Munich, and his younger brother Jobe's recent debut for Birmingham City.
bundesliga.com: Do you feel more young English players should come and play in the Bundesliga?
Jude Bellingham: "Yes, definitely. The Premier League is obviously getting a lot harder and I know people are finding it difficult to make their opportunity and get a chance to play there. I think the perfect alternative to that is the Bundesliga. You are going to play lots of minutes and you're going to enjoy playing. You are going to play against other top-quality players and you're going to gain that experience. That's all stuff that I have learned from experience, so I would definitely say that it's somewhere that young English players need to look at."
Watch: Bellingham was key in Frankfurt
bundesliga.com: Statistically, it's striking that you have the most dribbles at BVB. What's been behind this?
Bellingham: "I feel that has changed a lot from last year. I felt that last year I wasn't taking the ball on as much and dribbling with it. I think it's always something that I've been good at, but last year I just felt like I wasn't doing it as much. This year I knew I could do it a bit more and obviously I've done that and have been quite successful in it. I've made chances from it and it's just something I have to keep doing."
bundesliga.com: What always stands out is your incredible mentality. Have you always had it?
Bellingham: "I think it's more from your environment, and your upbringing in football gives you your mentality. I think a lot of people who were used to winning when they were younger maybe see it as an expectation or as a given. But for me I feel like you have to work for everything you get in football. That's just the mentality I've got - mainly from Birmingham. Everything you want, you have to work for, and if you're not getting it, you have to have something in you that sparks you to go and get it. That's how I play on the pitch and people say I get a little emotional sometimes, but in my head I'm always calm because the goal is always clear. I've used my mentality to try to help us win games and that's it really."
Watch: All of Bellingham's Bundesliga goals and assists
bundesliga.com: What does it take to be able to stand up to Bayern in the title race?
Bellingham: "I think in terms of the race with Bayern, we've just got to focus on ourselves. The area in which we fall behind Bayern is that they are really consistent and sometimes we're not as consistent in games that we probably should win and where we're in control. We always seem to let it slip and let go of a result… I think we definitely have to look at ourselves in some games and think how we can keep up with them if we drop points in these games. It ends up being the games against them that are not as important because we always seem to slip up on the games around it. I think we just have to focus on ourselves and try to win the games that we're expected to win."
bundesliga.com: You already have your first title with BVB [after Dortmund beat Leipzig 4-1 in last season's DFB Cup final]. What memories come up when you think back to it?
Bellingham: "The whole cup final is just like a blur really. I just remember there being all the hype about the game and it felt like the day went so quickly. I wasn't nervous and I felt really calm. I just remember us scoring the goals and thinking at half-time that we were going to win the cup. Afterwards we were just celebrating and it was a bit surreal because I had just won the German Cup. There were other experienced lads in that team who have won it multiple times and for them it would have meant nothing, but for me it was a really great feeling."
bundesliga.com: Tell us about your 16-year-old brother Jobe and his debut for Birmingham [in the FA Cup against Plymouth Argyle on 8 January]. Was it a proud moment?
Bellingham: "Definitely. I don't score often and I managed to get one [against Eintracht], but my brother making his debut was still probably the highlight of the day. I'm really proud of him and just happy for him. But - like I've always told him - if you work hard you're going to get your rewards. He has worked his ass off really, and now he has got his rewards and he has just got to keep going."
bundesliga.com: You've established yourself as one of the key players at Dortmund at a very early age. Do you feel your performances in the Bundesliga will improve your position in the England team ahead of the World Cup?
Bellingham: "I've got to be honest - I don't really think about it at all. I'm always focused on how I can help Borussia Dortmund win and this is the team that I'm with the majority of the time. That is my number one priority all the time and I'm never really motivated by the national team. Of course, it's a huge honour to go there and play, but I'm here to try to help Dortmund win games. If I can play well and it helps my national team status then brilliant, but I'm always focused on Borussia Dortmund."
bundesliga.com: A possible dream could be the World Cup title with England?
Bellingham: "Again, it's not something I'm thinking about and I'm thinking about the game on Friday against Freiburg at home more than anything. But if we're looking into the future, it's definitely something that's achievable for the squad we have got. We've got a brilliant batch of young players and a good mix of experience. I have just got to keep playing the way I'm playing to hopefully be included in the squad. Who knows what could happen?"
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