Jude Bellingham's Old Coach Tells Story Behind Why The Midfielder Wears Number 22 Shirt
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Have you ever wondered why Jude Bellingham wears the number 22 shirt? Well, one of his former coaches has told the story behind the decision – and it's a fascinating one.
"The 22 shirt has become synonymous with Jude, his rise to the first team aged just 16 years and 38 days and these qualities," Birmingham said in a statement.
"And as such the club have decided it would be fitting to retire this number, to remember one of our own and to inspire others"
Birmingham City will retire the number 22 shirt following Jude Bellingham's transfer to Borussia Dortmund.— Birmingham City News (@BCFC_News) July 23, 2020
It was a decision that raised plenty of eyebrows amongst fans.
Bellingham had only made 44 appearances for the club before joining the Bundesliga outfit, but it soon became apparent that the number meant a lot to the talented England international.
Mike Dodds, who played an important role in Bellingham's development during his time in Birmingham's academy set-up, explained that his ability to play in a number of roles helped in the decision process.
"He would have been about 13 or 14 and like most boys that age, they want to be a number 10," Dodds told talkSPORT2.
"I remember, we sat down with him and we said, ‘we think you’re doing yourself a disservice, we think you can do all of it. So we came up with, ‘we think you can be a 22.’
"His eyes lit up and we knew had hooked him from then on in. We said we thought he could be a holding midfielder, or a four. We thought he could be a box-to-box, which is an eight and we thought he could be a scorer and a creator, so a 10.
"And from the age of 13 onwards he has held on to that all the way through and you can see that in his game."
Dodds continued: "He made his debut at Birmingham City and he said, ‘I want my squad number to be number 22’ and said the same thing at Dortmund.
"So what I am hoping is that kids are going to look at that and go, ‘I am going to be the next 22’ and he sets a trend off in terms of being able to do everything.
"I genuinely think he can do everything; I think depending on the tactical needs of the game, he can play in all three positions and I think that is what makes him so unique."