Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham beats Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala to 2022 NXGN award
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham has topped goal.com's list of the best 50 players under the age of 19, claiming the 2022 NXGN award ahead of Bundesliga contemporaries Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala.
The 2022 NXGN prize - awarded to former Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho in 2019 - celebrates world football's brightest talents born on or after 1 January 2003. The final list is compiled by goal.com's global network of journalists.
"The 18-year-old has emerged as the finest young midfielder on the planet since joining Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2020, with Bellingham capable of dictating the tempo of matches at the very highest level of the European game," goal.com wrote.
"With close control any player would kill for, and the self-confidence of a seasoned title-winner, Bellingham has all the ingredients a modern-day coach would want, particularly given his goal and assist numbers have shot up this season."
Bellingham has made 37 appearances in all competitions for Dortmund so far this season, registering six goals and 13 assists. He made his 50th Bundesliga appearance on Matchday 23 of the current campaign, becoming the second youngest player in German top-flight history to reach the milestone, aged 18 years, seven months, and 22 days old.
Statistically, the 10-time England international is Dortmund's joint best in 2021/22 for Bundesliga assists (seven), but top dog for distance covered (161.7 miles/ 260.3 kilometres), intensive runs (2067) and challenges won (324). In fact, he's fourth league wide in the latter two categories.
Prior to making history as England's youngest player at a UEFA European Championship finals in summer 2021, Bellingham had featured in 46 competitive fixtures across his debut season in German football, adding to his 44 outings for boyhood club Birmingham City.
"He's 18 – three years younger than me – it's crazy!," Dortmund teammate Erling Haaland said of Bellingham earlier in the season. "What can I say? He's amazing. He's 18-years-old and plays so incredibly well. He's fantastic."
Watch: The best of Jude Bellingham
Bellingham is not the only laudable youngster on the books of a Bundesliga club.
Bayer Leverkusen's Wirtz and Bayern Munich's Jamal Musiala ranked second and fourth respectively in the NXGN standings, while Dortmund's Youssoufa Moukoko placed eighth and Augsburg's Ricardo Pepi 10th.
Borussia Mönchegladbach's Luca Netz (15th), RB Leipzig-owned duo Ilaix Moriba (17th) and Caden Clark (24th), and VfB Stuttgart's Wahid Fagir (38th) also made the top 50.
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