England's Gareth Southgate hopes to rest Jude Bellingham for Euro 2024 qualifiers as surgery looms

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Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham could face surgery on a knee injury, casting doubt on his availability for England's upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers. Bellingham, 19, had been wearing knee strapping in recent months, battling alongside Dortmund in their quest to secure their first Bundesliga title since 2012. However, he could now miss the crucial fixtures against Malta and North Macedonia, coinciding with an anticipated high-profile summer transfer. While surgery has yet to be confirmed, with the season concluded, there may be an opportunity to address the issue. The Daily Mail reports that the talented midfielder initially wore knee strapping as a precautionary measure during the Champions League match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in March. He continued to play for England against Italy and Ukraine, donning similar support. Since his debut for Birmingham City at the age of 16 in 2019, Bellingham has accumulated an exceptional number of minutes on the pitch, participating in close to 200 matches as a teenager. He has become a key player in the Champions League and at the international level, representing England in the European Championships and the recent World Cup in Qatar. Bellingham's contributions during the tournament earned him a pivotal role in Gareth Southgate's Three Lions squad. However, considering the upcoming fixtures against Malta and North Macedonia, considered relative minnows in international football, it may be an opportune time to allow the youngster to rest if surgery becomes necessary. Protecting their prized asset is of paramount importance to Dortmund, as they anticipate a summer transfer potentially exceeding £100 million for the talented midfielder, with Real Madrid as the leading suitor. Contrary to expectations of new faces in the squad, Southgate included Bellingham in the latest England squad. The England manager discussed the injury in March, highlighting the collaboration with Dortmund on managing the situation. "In our coordination with Jude's club, there are no concerns about his continued participation," said Southgate. "Jude embodies what we value-high performance and low maintenance. He is determined to improve, always receptive to suggestions to enhance his game. His ability to process and retain information is exceptional when you communicate your expectations to him." With Bellingham's future hanging in the balance due to the potential surgery, Southgate hopes to secure his recovery and preserve his talent for future successes with the Three Lions.

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