Paul Lambert has backed young Dortmund duo Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham to shine for England but only if they’re allowed to develop without intense pressure on their shoulders.
Speaking ahead of his former team’s clash with Cologne live on BT Sport this Saturday afternoon, Lambert praised both rising stars but called for patience with both.
The current Ipswich Town manager spent two seasons at Dortmund, and believes 17-year-old Bellingham won’t fully appreciate the size of the club until fans are allowed to return in force.
Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, Lambert said: “I saw him with Birmingham more, I saw him when he first went to Dortmund, a couple of fleeting appearances. For somebody so young he’s took the bull by the horns, come over, and he’s got to learn a new language, fit into a different culture
“He won’t realise the type of club he’s at until the fans come back.
“Once the fans come back, he’ll realise. A club with big, big potential. Give him time to develop – he’s only 17, he has so much going for him.
“He’s a few years behind Sancho and Erling Haaland but he has got talent and he’s been brave enough to try a different culture.
“He’s still finding his best place but that will come with experience, great coaching over there, great players and he’ll be hopefully learning every time. It might take until this time next year to really make a mark, but as I said before, let him develop.”
Bellingham followed in the footsteps of one-time teen prodigy Sancho, now 20, who has been a superstar for Dortmund since making the move in 2017.
Sancho has racked up 30 goals and 36 assists in just 84 Bundesliga games for his team, though he has been unable to translate that electric record from the German league to the English national team.
Again, Lambert has called for patience: “It’ll be different for him. Sometimes that can happen to players where they play incredibly well for club and then at international level it becomes a little bit different but you’ve got to remember, he’s a kid.
“He’s a young player, he’s go so much to learn, there shouldn’t be too much pressure on him and that’s when I think it could hurt him.
“Just let the lad go and play his game and try to produce what he does for Dortmund in the national team. You cannot put too much pressure on him.
“The way he’s playing for Dortmund is really good, but just let him develop as well. It’s a fatal error, I think, to put everything on his shoulders. Just let him play.
“I like him in the one-v-one situations he’s very good. Everybody knows his assists level is huge and his does jump in with a few goals.
“It’s not an easy position he plays in, that right side, it’s not as if you’ve got the whole centre of the pitch to manoeuvre.
“There’s a lot of great attributes to him, a young guy who shouldn’t be put under too much spotlight. Let him go and play and at the minute he’s playing really, really well.”
BT Sport is the exclusive home of the Bundesliga. Watch Borussia Dortmund v Cologne on BT Sport ESPN from 2:30pm on Saturday 28th November.
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