Five England stars at risk of ban for semi-finals including Jude Bellingham (2024)

FIVE England stars are at risk of being banned for the Euro semi-finals — if they beat Switzerland.

Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions face a tough task against Granit Xhaka and Co in Saturday’s quarters.

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England stumbled their way out of the last 16 after Slovakia came within 90 seconds of KO’ing them from the tournament.

A miraculous overhead kick from Jude Bellingham sent the game to extra time.

And Harry Kane’s header put the finishing touches on a nervy 2-1 win.

But a flurry of yellow cards by Turkish ref Umut Meler means five England players could miss the semis.

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Fans declared the official “loves cards more than Moonpig” after Marc Guehi, Kobbie Mainoo and Jude Bellingham were all booked in the first 17 minutes against Slovakia.

And the latter two are now just one yellow away from being suspended for the semi-final against either Holland or Turkey.

The other three players are risk against Switzerland include Phil Foden, Kieran Trippier and Conor Gallagher, who have also been booked once so far during the Euros.

And Southgate will be sure to demand his players are on their best behaviour, with Guehi already out of the quarters after receiving his second yellow of the tournament on Sunday.

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However, if those in trouble get through Saturday unscathed, their yellow cards will be wiped out.

It means they would only miss the final through suspension, provided England get there, by receiving a red card in the semis.

Play Foden & Bellingham centrally & go for it! | Jack Wilshere's plan to win the Euros

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And all eyes are now on this weekend’s crunch quarter-final clash.

But there could be bad news for Southgate this week, with star man Bellingham under investigation for his controversial celebration against Slovakia.

The midfielder appeared to gesture grabbing his crotch after scoring, with some claiming it was aimed in the direction of Slovakia’s bench.

Bellingham has denied this was the case, insisting it was part of an inside joke for friends in the stands.

However, Uefa still decided to open an investigation and could ban Bellingham for the Switzerland match.

He has been given several days to provide a response.

And the ace may not find out until Friday — the day before England’s quarter final — whether he is able to play or not.

Jude Bellingham is like David Beckham - Emile Heskey

Five England stars at risk of ban for semi-finals including Jude Bellingham (11)

EXCLUSIVE by Tom Barclay in Erfurt

EMILE HESKEY witnessed up close the David Beckham phenomenon.

And in current England hero Jude Bellingham, the former striker sees a kindred spirit to Goldenballs who too possesses a power to transcend football.

Ex-Leicester and Liverpool forward Heskey played with Beckham for many years for the national team.

They competed together at Euro 2000 in Belgium and the Netherlands, World Cup 2002 in Japan and South Korea and Euro 2004 in Portugal.

Beckham mania was at its height during that period and Heskey had a front row seat to it all, so is well-placed to observe if man-of-the-moment Bellingham is following a similar path.

Heskey, 46, told SunSport courtesy of 888Sport: “Beckham was an icon. He took the world by storm, not just football.

“He was the very first figure that took it outside of football. Transcend not just being a footballer, but being this big icon.

“I was at the 2002 World Cup and everyone was sporting Beckham haircuts, from kids to grown-men, to women.

“You’re a huge superstar when you’re doing that, especially in places like Japan.

“We had 3,000 watching training sessions and that was because of him.

“He’s a fantastic and wonderful icon. You can see where Jude is going with that with some of the stuff he’s doing.”

The similarities between Beckham and Bellingham are clear - both are trend-setting pin-up boys who revel in the limelight.

First and foremost, as Heskey pointed out, is their ability on the pitch which is capable of lifting an entire team with one moment of brilliance.
Beckham had it with that unforgettable, last-gasp free-kick against Greece in 2001.

Bellingham had his three days ago in Gelsenkirchen with THAT overhead kick against Slovakia.

Heskey was captained many times by Beckham for England. He recalled: “Becks was quite quiet to be honest.

“He was a fantastic captain because he led by example. You can see that in Jude.

“He’s the one that really wants to take the game by the scruff of the neck, whether it be technically, physically or emotionally.

“He’s the one getting the crowd going, he’s the one that is willing to put his foot in where it hurts. He’s a great all-round leader.

“Becks was that. He was fantastic as a captain for me in the sense of what a captain does. He was the first one there, he led us by example. If there were any problems, he’s the one we can go to and he sorted all that out.

“You can see the similar sort of traits in Jude. A wonderful, wonderful player, a great character who is doing tremendous things on the pitch.”

Heskey is confident his fellow former Birmingham man Bellingham will be able to handle the ever-brightening spotlight that is on him, thanks to the strength of his support network.

And Michael Owen’s old strike partner has been so impressed with how the Real Madrid midfielder speaks publicly despite only turning 21 on Saturday.

Heskey added: “Jude’s family nucleus is very strong.

“His dad is an ex-footballer, a policeman as well. His mother is a role model in the sense of being his mum. You see how strong they are as a family.

“That’s when you’re getting a real grounded and well-versed child who is growing into an amazing man. I think he’ll be able to handle all that.

“Football clubs have all these different ways of helping players with certain things that are going on, even down to media training.

“I doubt Becks would have had any media training. I never had any media training, so you get thrust into that.

“But when you look at the likes of Jude, you see how well they talk on the mic and the television.”

England are still sweating on if Bellingham will escape a ban for Saturday’s quarter-final with Switzerland.

Uefa are investigating a "potential violation of the basic rules of decent conduct" after he made what seemed to be a crude gesture when celebrating his amazing leveller against the Slovaks.

Heskey admits missing Bellingham in Dusseldorf would be a huge blow, but pointed to how back-up players led England to glory the last time we won a major trophy in 1966.

The ex-Aston Villa and Wigan forward added: “Hopefully we don’t lose him.

“Then again it’s then for others, having the opportunity that they might not have had, to step up to the plate.

“We’ve seen it so many times. Even when talking about the last time we won a trophy, I believe that Jimmy Greaves was the one who was supposed to be playing.

“Then you have an injury or a setback and you’ve got to step up to the plate. And the rest is history.”

Five England stars at risk of ban for semi-finals including Jude Bellingham (2024)

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