Gareth Southgate confirms Jude Bellingham plan as he prepares England experiment

Gareth Southgate has confirmed he plans to give Jude Bellingham his England debut at Wembley.

Mirror Sport revealed yesterday that 17-year-old sensation Bellingham is in line to play – almost certainly as a substitute – against Republic of Ireland after his amazing promotion to the senior squad.

England boss Southgate insisted Bellingham would benefit from the experience in the long term and that is why he was called up ahead of the likes of Ross Barkley or James Maddison.

Southgate said: “My initial conversation with him was that you'll have a few days with us, we'll involve you in the game, we'll see how it goes, and that's going to be a brilliant experience for him.

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“It’s always interesting to see the reaction when we select a player, because people are immediately talking about other players without understanding why we’ve called Jude up.

“It’s not a decision that he’s a better player than one or two older players who I’ve seen mentioned, although those players don’t play in the position that he plays. And that’s a fact.

“We could flippantly say, ‘Well, he’s playing for a massive club and he’s playing Champions League football’, but there’s actually a bit more to it than that.

“The bigger picture here is a great opportunity to bring another young player with us that is going to benefit England for the long-term.

"Whether he stays with us for the full week, we’ll decide after the game.”

Southgate also revealed that he is set to give Chelsea ’s Mason Mount a role in deeper midfield role while his club team mate Reece James will start as he is suspended for both Nations League games.

It will be an experimental line-up but Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish is set to play amid the public clamour.

England probable (3-4-3): Pope: Keane, Maguire, Mings; James, Winks, Mount, Saka; Sancho, Calvert-Lewin, Grealish.

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