Eyed by Real Madrid, wonderkid tag - Jude Bellingham brother Jobe’s breakout year at Sunderland

Jobe Bellingham ahead of Sunderland's Sky Bet Championship match against Millwall at the Stadium Of Light.
Jobe Bellingham ahead of Sunderland's Sky Bet Championship match against Millwall at the Stadium Of Light. -Credit:MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Jude Bellingham is not the only footballer who has caught the eye in his family this season as the older brother prepares for Champions League semi-final action with Real Madrid.

The end of the Championship season means that younger brother Jobe will be able to keep a close eye on the match against Bayern Munich on Wednesday night, after being spotted in the stands for the club’s quarter-final against Manchester City. It comes after an impressive first season with Sunderland.

The 18-year-old moved to the Stadium of Light on a permanent deal from Birmingham City - the same club Jude started his career - last summer for a fee believed to be around the £3 million mark.

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He quickly established himself as a starter for the club, making a total of 45 Championship appearances over the season. In those, he scored seven times, including the winner over Leeds United back in December.

Just a few months into his time at Sunderland it was reported that Jobe was being watched by scouts from Real Madrid. El Nacional claimed that scouts watched the youngster in action for England U19s during the international break last October and were impressed by his performance.

His brother continues to create headlines at Real Madrid, but Jobe’s desire to make his own name in the game is the reason he chose to have ‘Jobe’ on the back of his Sunderland shirt this season instead of ‘Bellingham’ like his brother.

"He’s desperately fighting to be recognised for him. It’s always going to be a battle for him, that’s the reality. But everyone [here] is doing their part," Sunderland interim boss Mike Dodds said, via the Northern Echo back in April.

"I think the group and the staff are really understanding of Jobe’s situation. We don’t discuss the brother stuff with him at all, if he wants to discuss it, that’s up to him."

He’s certainly on his way to creating his own story. Back in March Goal named him in this year's list of top 50 wonderkids from around the world.

It points to a big future for Bellingham jnr, with Sunderland the ‘perfect place’ to continue that development, according to former Black Cats striker Brian Deane. "It’s easy to look at his brother Jude out in La Liga with Real Madrid, who is a leading light, but sometimes it’s better to play a more patient game, and Sunderland is the perfect place for his education," he told Sunderland Nation.

"If he leaves Sunderland and goes to a Premier League club, he might end up getting farmed out on loan to a Championship club anyway.

"I think he’s at the perfect place at the moment to just learn his craft – just enjoy it because it will become very serious as soon as he does make the switch to the Premier League."

The final few weeks of the Championship season saw Jobe sometimes play in the striker role for Sunderland, a position in which he impressed. That versatility will only help him in his development with Sunderland over the next few seasons.

While his brother continues to make the headlines, Jobe will make his own way in the game. Sunderland can only reap the benefits of being a big part of his career.