Jude Bellingham has proven his humble footballing beginnings by naming three ex-Birmingham stars as his role models growing up.
The 20-year-old is regarded as arguably the most exciting young talent in football at the moment having taken home the Kopa Trophy at this week’s Ballon d’Or ceremony.
But it wasn’t too long ago that he was watching his beloved Blues as they won the League Cup against Arsenal in 2011 thanks to goals from Nikola Zigic and Obafemi Martins.
But while Bellingham is now rubbing shoulders with some of the best players in the game at Real Madrid, the midfielder has credited three Birmingham stars for inspiring him along his way.
However, he also had time for your more classic heroes, including Los Blancos icon Zinedine Zidane.
Speaking to L’Equipe, he said: “I admired the players from Birmingham, the team that won the League Cup at Wembley (in 2011).
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“My heroes were Seb Larsson, Craig Gardner, Lee Bowyer. As I got more into it myself, Dad was the most important.
“Later, my first models were Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard, simply because they played in England. And then when you grow up, you start watching football.
“My dad had a fake Zidane shirt that he had bought on the beach. He took it everywhere, often at home.
“One day I asked him: ‘By the way, who is that guy?’ He replied: ‘Go on YouTube and check him out.’ Since then, I probably haven’t stopped.”
Bellingham’s influences have clearly paid off with the 20-year-old one of world football’s most in-form players right now.
The midfielder has scored a staggering 13 goals in 13 games for Real Madrid since joining from Borussia Dortmund this summer.
But while Birmingham’s League Cup success was their first major trophy since the 1963, Bellingham will be desperate to make winning silverware a much more common occurrence.