Currently, with Jordan Henderson out injured, Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips is Bellingham's most prominent rival for a starting birth in the England team. If this international break revealed anything, it is that the 25-year-old is a firm favourite of Southgate's, having played the most minutes of any player in the squad across the three World Cup qualifiers.
But how do the two compare statistically? Well, it must first be noted that Dortmund tend to dominate most opposition in the Bundesliga. In contrast, Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds often play with high energy, rapid counter attacks, intense velocity and a non-stop work rate that rivals anybody in all of England, forcing the midfield to work end-to-end, which can often influence the output of individual player statistics.
However, what may give Phillips the upper hand going into the Euros is that he is naturally an outright defensive midfielder, and playing two at the base of the midfield has been a reoccurring theme under Southgate in his four and a half years in charge.
The statistics prove that Phillips is a more defensively sound player too. Comparing the two in the competitions where they are prone to do the most defending, it would be reasonable to suggest that Phillips should play against nations with more attacking muscle. The Leeds man outperforms Bellingham in tackles, interceptions, and clearances, which would indicate that he is more suited to playing without the ball.
Despite Phillips being defensively superior to his England colleague, Bellingham is not an outright defensive midfielder by any means, and he can be utilised anywhere across the midfield, whilst no doubt, he plays for a team more dominant in attack rather than defence. What may be beneficial to Southgate, though, particularly in the group stage, is a player who can carry the ball and distribute it, as they play Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic.
With England being placed in a modest group, they will see a lot of the football, and given Bellingham's undeniable ability on it, he could be the middle man to break the lines and transition England from defence into attack. Comparatively to Phillips, Bellingham has 1.2 successful dribbles per game, with the Leeds man having 0.6, signalling that the latter is far more comfortable with the ball at his feet. To add to this, the Bundesliga star is fouled far more frequently a game (2) than Phillips (1.2), which suggests that he is far braver, more proficient, and challenging to stop as a ball carrier.