Jude Bellingham is a Plagiarist (2024)

TLDR: I thought I’d have some fun and write a somewhat silly football post.

Jude Bellingham is a plagiarist.

I am the real script-writer.

It’s the suspense, you see. The drama. I loves it.

I could write ‘Kane scores a hat-trick and England romp to victory’ for every game. But where’s the fun in that?

And I've cast myself, too. I pretend to be timid, meek, passive. That's all in the plan. I haven't the energy these days to play confident Gareth. But that doesn't mean he doesn't live within me.

It's hard, though, method-acting Gareth Southgate. Nobody much seems to like old Gareth these days.

For a start, Ivan Toney is very, very irritated. And quite right, too. What sort of leader neglects his best assets? I’d be fuming, if I were him. Left to rot on the bench for three games, only to be left to rot on the bench some more for most of a fourth. I don't have the script to hand, but whoever I cast to do that deserves all the criticism he gets.

And we’ve got problems on the left. Despite the best efforts of our top scientists, we just can't find a way to make Kieran Trippier left-footed. We’ve done operations, acupuncture, all sorts. We’ve even tried stapling his right leg to Marc Guéhi so he has to play with his left. No luck.

We’ll keep plugging away, though. That’s the never-say-die attitude we have in this England camp.

Those same scientists also seem incapable of making Joe Gomez shut up. That famously plaintive loudmouth simply won’t be quiet about how he’s the answer to all our problems. Oh, he claims to be left-footed. But even if he were, it would be of no help to him, because he plays for Liverpool. And ever since they rejected my application to be their manager, I am extremely reluctant to play anyone who wears a Liverpool shirt.

I trust our scientists are doing their best. I check in on them every so often. Not that I’ve had much time, recently. I’ve had my hands full, teaching Jude how to do overhead kicks.

Now that Act is over, we’re onto the next one. I’m dividing my time between training Declan on shooting from the halfway line, and teaching headers to Jordan Pickford. Shakespeare, eat your heart out.

(I’ll admit it: Granit Xhaka isn’t answering my calls, and he hasn’t turned up for a single rehearsal.)

My son won’t play along, either. Just as the halftime whistle blew on Sunday, I had to take a call from him: he’d just consumed a petit filou, and was unsure which bin to put the lid in. As a committed father, I could not let such a vital puzzle go unsolved—though it did rather put a dent in my planned teamtalk.

The thing is, no script will be good enough for the British public. Which is odd, because the Americans are nowhere near as stingy with their praise. Biden is 82, and it only became a problem two weeks ago. Tough act to follow though, is Biden. Hard to match for charisma.

I’m not sure what they want from me, really. I mean, it’s Palmer this, Trent that. But Palmer is too knackered from massaging Harry Kane’s feet to start an international. And Trent is a river in the North of England. Who plays for Liverpool.

Clearly everyone was so irritated on Sunday that not even Lee Dixon’s stirring commentary could persuade them that things could get better.

I’d planned for that eventuality, too. That’s why I made sure to bring only the most enthusiastic supporters for the Watchers’ bench. Someone has to make up for the lack of support from the country.And they’ll be there on Saturday too, cheering us on.

Given that someone will inevitably leak it, I thought I’d better pre-empt that and give it to you straight. So here it is—the script:

In the 36th minute, Phil Foden will put a cross in. The ball will bobble about for what seems like an eternity. Harry Kane will pop up from somewhere and knock it in, putting us 1-0 up.

In the 48th minute, Declan Rice will spot Jan Sommer off his line, and fire a perfectly-placed shot over his head to nestle in the far corner.

In the 62nd minute, Granit Xhaka will equalise, with a speculative effort from outside the box taking a lucky deflection, leaving Pickford furious at John Stones’ right knee specifically.

In the 73rd minute, Xherdan Shaqiri will slot a free-kick into the bottom corner when nobody was ready.

In the 84th minute, Mbolo will take advantage of refereeing bias to secure a dodgy penalty from John Stones. Shaqiri will slot it home for 2-3.

In the 94th minute, with all 11 players crammed into the box, Kyle Walker will deliver an in-swinging corner, Akanji will head it out, and Pickford will get on the end of the second ball with an immaculate, looping header that takes everyone off-guard except myself. 3-3.

In the 103rd minute, Harry Kane will score some goal or other. 4-3. Game Over.

In the 67th minute, Jude Bellingham will take up the ball, carving through the Swiss defense like an army knife through cheese, slotting the ball through the keeper’s legs.

In the 71st minute, Jude Bellingham will again take up the ball, carving through the Swiss defense like an army knife through cheese, slotting the ball through the keeper’s legs.

In the 78th minute, Jude Bellingham will once more take up the ball, carving through the Swiss defense like an army knife through cheese, slotting the ball through the keeper’s legs.

Forgive me. I’ve had to cross out some of the more impractical suggestions of my junior scriptwriter.

Of course, I can’t control the public. They are not in the script. I can only hope that they come round. But they will. The famously optimistic British public always comes round. We have a big plus sign in the middle of our flag, and it clearly dwarfs that of the Swiss. And in any case, the Swiss are neutral, so will presumably cheer for us half the time.

So don’t cry for me, England. Or do—whatever. Either way, I don’t need it.

Just remember this: when we win, it will have been Gareth wot won it.

Jude Bellingham is a Plagiarist (2024)
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