From Birmingham to the 2022 World Cup: follow the journey of these England footballers
It’s coming home
The 2022 World Cup started on Sunday and for four England players, their football journey started in Brum and the West Midlands.
Every football player dreams of representing their country and 26 people have been selected by Gareth Southgate to take part in the World Cup. After the success of the women this summer in the Euros, the whole of England are rooting for the men to bring it home.
Jack Grealish, Jude Bellingham, James Maddison and Callum Wilson were all born and raised in the West Midlands.
In England’s first game of the tournament, they won six-two against Iran . Bellingham scored England’s opening goal with Grealish and Wilson coming on as substitutes.
Here are their journey’s to getting the England first-team call up.
Grealish was born in Birmingham in 1995 and grew up in Solihull, where he went to school. He started playing football at the grassroots club Highgate United.
At only six years old, Grealish joined Aston Villa Football Club and stayed there until 2021. After a loan spell at Notts County in the 2013/14 season, Grealish returned to Villa and made his debut for the club against Manchester City as a substitute. During his senior career, he became a club star making 185 appearances, many of which he captained.
In August 2021, Grealish made the rumoured £100 million move to Manchester City, making him the most expensive transfer of an English player.
Grealish was called up to the senior England squad for the first time in the 2020 Nations League. He featured in five out of England’s seven games in Euro 2020.
Fun fact – Grealish’s great-great-grandfather, Billy Garraty, won the 1905 FA Cup Final with Aston Villa.
Bellingham was born in Stourbridge, Dudley and attended the Priory School in Edgbaston. The grassroots club Stourbridge Juniors was his first taste of football.
Bellingham joined Birmingham City Football Club as an under-eight and was slowly introduced into first-team training whilst he was still at school. His appearance in the first round EFL Cup game against Portsmouth in 2019 made him Birmingham City’s youngest ever first-team player.
In the 2019/20 season, Bellingham regularly featured in the match day squad, making 41 appearances. Birmingham City retired his number 22 shirt as he achieved so much in such little time. They said “it would be fitting to retire this number, to remember one of our own and to inspire others.”
In July 2020, Bellingham made the move to Borussia Dortmund. Since then, he has made 76 appearances.
Bellingham was called up to the England senior squad for the first time in November 2020
Fun fact – Jude’s younger brother, Jobe Bellingham, is currently a Birmingham City player.
Maddison was born and grew up in Coventry.
He joined Coventry City Football Club’s youth team and made the first-team squad in the 2013/14 season. Maddison made his league debut in 2014 as a substitute, but started the following game. He made 24 appearances for Coventry before moving to Norwich City in 2016.
Maddison is more known for his time at Premier League club Leicester City, who he signed for in 2018. Since then, he has appeared 146 times and scored 40 goals. In 2020, a goal he scored against Manchester City was voted as the Premier League Goal of the Month.
Maddison was first called up to the senior England team in 2018 for the UEFA Nations League. He debuted as a substitute in the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying games.
As with James Maddison, Wilson was born and brought up in Coventry.
He started his career in Coventry City Football Club’s academy. Advancing to the first-team in 2009, Wilson made his league debut in 2010 as a substitute. He made 49 appearances for Coventry before moving to AFC Bournemouth in 2014.
Wilson helped Bournemouth achieved promotion to the Premier League and in six years he made 171 appearances, scoring 61 goals. However, Wilson suffered two serious ACL injuries so was out for a significant time. He then signed for Newcastle United in 2020.
Wilson was called up to the senior England squad in 2018 and made his debut against the United States. After a string of injuries, he has been named in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the 2020 FIFA World Cup.
In light of the humanitarian concerns raised about Qatar, it is worth noting that we are in support of the England team and not the host country itself. Football should be an inclusive space no matter your race, gender or sexuality.