JUDE Bellingham’s rapid rise to international football has been very well documented.

The England star has already played at the delayed Euro 2020, where England lost the final to Italy on penalties, the 2022 World Cup and now Euro 2024.

But what may not be quite so well known is his surprise links to Southend.

This week we revealed Jude watched his midfielder dad Mark who shone brightly while playing for Catholic United in Southend.

And during the Euro 2020 tournament we revealed that two of fellow midfielder Bellingham’s first ever visits to Wembley were to watch Southend United.

Jude’s dad Mark is a passionate Shrimpers supporter and took his son along to watch Phil Brown’s side in the 2013 JPT Trophy final and the League Two play-off final success against Wycombe Wanderers two years later.

Jude also went to Cardiff to watch the LDV Vans Trophy finals against both Blackpool and Wrexham as well as the League Two final victory against Lincoln City in 2005.

Mark grew up in Essex and, as well as playing for Catholic, he played for East Thurrock United in his own footballing career which saw him score more than 700 goals.

He remains a keen follower of Blues despite moving to the West Midlands where he is now a sergeant in the police force.

Jude shone with Birmingham City before making the switch to Borussia Dortmund in 2020 and later joining Real Madrid.

His fine form has also seen him win two senior caps for England and, at 17 years of age, he was the youngest member of Gareth Southgate’s squad for the last Euros tournament and helped his country reach the final.