Toure warns England over another ‘Dele Alli’ ahead of France showdown

Five memorable meetings between England and France ahead of Saturday’s showdown

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Yaya Toure has warned England about Jude Bellingham becoming another Dele Alli ahead of the Three Lions’ World Cup showdown with France on Saturday night. The Borussia Dortmund star has been in outstanding form in Qatar so far, helping his country win three of their four matches. Europe’s elite are all keen on securing his signature as a result, with Liverpool appearing to be frontrunners at the current moment in time.

Bellingham has started England’s matches with Senegal, Wales, USA and Iran so far this winter – and impressed in all four showdowns to help his country to make it to the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

His stock is soaring with each passing game and he’s expected to keep his place in the team when Gareth Southgate’s side lock horns with France on Saturday.

Ahead of that game, however, Toure has warned England about Bellingham potentially becoming their next Alli.

Alli burst onto the scene at a young age but his career has gone south in recent years. He’s currently spending the season on loan at Besiktas from Everton, having failed to make an impression at Goodison Park.

Toure told The Athletic: “Bellingham has been the star of all of England’s matches for me.

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“Sometimes he’s scoring, sometimes he’s passing, and the timing of his box-to-box runs are perfect.

“He’s in good shape and came into this tournament with the right confidence from Borussia Dortmund. You can tell he sees himself as a potential top player in the world, and wants to show it at the World Cup.

“I hope the media are careful with him because we saw a similar situation a few years ago with Dele Alli, who struggled at times with being presented as a leader for club and country.

“It’s important for everyone to be protective of Bellingham for his development, because it’s clear he has a bright, bright future with England.

“His mentality — his focus, his determination to win — at 19 is not normal.

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“In my career, I mostly saw it in South American players, with Javier Mascherano (Argentina) being a good example, but I’ve also seen it in Gavi of Spain at this tournament. More young English players need what Bellingham has.”

Toure thinks Bellingham is an emblem for the modern England midfielder, believing he differs to the likes of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard from the past generation.

“In the past we saw England with midfielders like Lampard or Gerrard who could shoot from long range,” he stated.

“Now we see players like Bellingham with different characteristics physically and in terms of technical ability, close to big players from other top countries.

“His vision is clear and he’s smart. It’s not easy to have this vision at the speed of the game.

“When I see the runs he makes to allow his team-mates to open the game, or when he has the ball, he doesn’t look 19.

“He looks like a player who has been playing at a high level for a long period. Full credit to Birmingham and to Dortmund for his development — Dortmund have been developing players brilliantly well.”

Toure believes Bellingham will need to be at his best against France over the weekend, while also comparing him to Les Bleus counterpart Kylian Mbappe.

“France will be a big test for England. They are a top, top team, the 2018 World Cup winners, and they are very well organised,” he stated.

“It’s so difficult to break them open in their 4-4-2. Individually they have quality and collectively they are very strong. They have been playing with each other for six, seven years and they have that consistency.

“Mbappe is in red-hot form but so is Bellingham. That’s the head-to-head, because those are the two players who can open the game.

“His movement will be vital, and England will need their other special talents, like Foden and Bukayo Saka, to turn up and the more experienced players to guide them.

“This game is going to determine if they can believe in winning the World Cup. I want Bellingham to go far in this competition because I’ve been really impressed by him. He’s going to be one of the best midfielders in the world and he’s showing his talent already.

“We have more to see from him, I’m 100 per cent sure of that.”

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