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Alan Shearer slams ‘ridiculous’ calls for England star to be dropped ahead of Euro 2024 quarter-final

Ex-England striker Alan Shearer
Ex-England striker Alan Shearer (Picture: BBC)

Alan Shearer has slammed ‘ridiculous’ calls for Jude Bellingham to be dropped after Didi Hamman was among those calling for England boss Gareth Southgate to take drastic action at Euro 2024.

Real Madrid midfielder Bellingham rescued England’s Euros hopes with a stunning overhead kick in injury-time against Slovakia, before captain Harry Kane scored an extra-time winner to send the Three Lions into the quarter-finals.

Despite his wondergoal – and scoring in England’s first Euros game against Serbia – Bellingham has endured a mixed campaign over in Germany and was largely anonymous in the group games against Denmark and Slovenia.

That led some pundits to suggest Bellingham should be dropped for the knockout stages, with Champions League winner Hamann claiming he ‘must’ be taken out to allow Phil Foden to thrive in the No. 10 position.

‘Unless Gareth Southgate changes the team in two or three positions, I see little hope,’ Hamann said ahead of England’s last-16 tie.

‘Southgate is letting things go but he has to make a decision. Between Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham only one can play and for me that would be Foden.

‘For me you have to take Bellingham out, Foden in the middle and then Cole Palmer and Anthony Gordon on the flanks. And Southgate has to think about what he’s going to do with Harry Kane.’

Three Lions midfielder Jude Bellingham in action against Slovakia
Three Lions midfielder Jude Bellingham in action against Slovakia (Picture: Getty)

Specifically on Bellingham, who won La Liga and the Champions League in a sensational first season at Real Madrid, Hamann added: ‘He was hyped after his first six months in Madrid.

‘But he has only performed averagely for Real since Christmas. In the Champions League, he was barely seen in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. That’s why I’m not surprised by his performances at the European Championships.

‘Bellingham is undoubtedly a good player, but he needs to confirm his performances from last year. Many are talking about the Ballon d’Or, but I don’t see him as a world footballer at the moment.’

Despite producing the moment of magic that saved England, there are still some fans who believe Bellingham should be dropped as he has looked below-par for much of the tournament and admitted he felt ‘absolutely dead’ towards the end of the group stage.

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Three Lions legend Shearer was asked if Bellingham should make way on The Rest is Football podcast and said: ‘There is no way he should be dropped.

‘How can you drop him? It’s ridiculous. Of course he shouldn’t be dropped, he’s got to be in the team.’

Fellow former England striker and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker added: ‘That’s just an emphatic no, isn’t it?’

Speaking after England’s dramatic last-16 victory, Southgate admitted he almost subbed off Bellingham before his remarkable goal, saying he ‘wondered if he was out on his feet’.

‘We were thinking should we take him off, but you know he is capable of those sorts of moments,’ Southgate said. ‘With 15 minutes to go you wonder if he is out on his feet.

‘We know in the game itself we needed to better with the ball, we couldn’t find the right solutions in the first half and we did it better in the second.

‘Under that pressure they kept probing. In the end it is the old fashioned long throw that gets the goal, those moments can happen when you keep wearing a team down.’

England’s Euro 2024 quarter-final opponents Switzerland beat reigning champions Italy last time out after finishing second in Group B behind hosts Germany.

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