Manchester City's Kalvin Phillips has been warned that Jude Bellingham is now in pole position to start alongside Declan Rice for England at the World Cup finals in Qatar.
Phillips and Rice developed an important midfield partnership for the Three Lions as they reached the Euro 2020 final last summer. However, summer signing Phillips has only played 14 minutes this season and remains on City's treatment table with a shoulder problem.
In his absence, Bellingham was named in the starting XI by England manager Gareth Southgate against the Italians on Friday night. But while England were beaten to confirm Nations League relegation, Borussia Dortmund sensation Bellingham's display was a rare positive for Southgate and his squad heading towards the tournament.
Speaking during Channel 4 coverage, pundit Joe Cole said: "He's really mature on and off the pitch for his age. He's exactly what England need in that position next to Declan Rice.
"He's strong, powerful and gets on the ball. I like the way he progresses his passes, he's happy to feed it in and he's also comfortable having bodies around him.
"Jude makes the right passes at the right time and is such a talent. When he gets the ball, he looks to go forward."
Cole added: "In the [Champions League] game against Manchester City, he looked to pop it around and run and go into positions. He needs to be disciplined and will need to do that in Gareth Southgate's team, but is everything we need for England in that position.
"He's in pole position to be next to Declan Rice and he's going to add more goals to his game. He's one of the best talents in world football and I love him."