May 22, 2024

Jobe Bellingham’s set to leave  Sunderland for Big club

Look across the Championship and there aren’t many 18-year-olds playing every single week. The Sunderland forward is hugely talented, mature beyond his years and perhaps destined for the Premier League.

And yet in the eyes of the watching public away from Wearside, Jobe is not necessarily recognised for his own achievements, rather the fact he’s the brother of Jude, the Real Madrid superstar who hogged the headlines yet again this weekend when he scored the last minute winner in El Clasico.

“Jobe’s life is difficult,” says Sunderland’s interim head coach Mike Dodds, who first clapped eyes on the teenager on a football pitch a decade ago.

“Wherever he goes, he’s never going to get away from that.

“It’s difficult for me to comment but I don’t think anyone will truly understand what it is like to be Jobe – if he goes anywhere in the world, he’s Jude’s brother, he’s not Jobe. Him having his own identity is something he desperately craves. I’m sure as he gets older and he gets more accolades and he does wonderful things in football, he’ll be appreciated for who he is.”

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The youngster’s desire to carve out his own identity is why he’s opted to wear ‘Jobe’ rather than ‘Bellingham’ on the back of his Sunderland jersey this season.

“He’s desperately fighting to be recognised for him. It’s always going to be a battle for him, that’s the reality. But everyone [here] is doing their part,” said Dodds.

“I think the group and the staff are really understanding of Jobe’s situation. We don’t discuss the brother stuff with him at all, if he wants to discuss it, that’s up to him.”

The wider public might view the teenager as Jude’s brother, but Stadium of Light regulars judge Sunderland’s No.7 not on his surname and closest relative but what they see on the pitch – which Jobe loves.

“That’s why he’s fallen in love with the fans, with the area,” says Dodds.

“He’s so happy with the decision he made last summer, he’s said that to me personally. It’s a perfect club at the perfect time for him. I’m sure this part of the world will be forever in his heart. He’s completely fallen in love and I think the Sunderland fans have been

unbelievable with him.”

And you do have to strip back the family narrative to perhaps truly appreciate just how impressive a first season Jobe has enjoyed on Wearside.

He was just 17 when the first ball was kicked this term and arrived on Wearside having made just five starts for Birmingham City last season. This season, he’s started 41 of Sunderland’s 44 games and only not featured in one.

“He’s definitely played more minutes than anyone would have expected,” says Dodds.

“I think for such a young boy, he always been picked, whether by Tony (Mowbray), Mick (Beale) or myself and that says something. He’s been picked in different positions as well with all three of those coaches which says from a maturity perspective he can be trusted.

 

 

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