Former Everton defender Michael Ball has said the excitement surrounding reported Liverpool target Jude Bellingham reminds him of the buzz that accompanied Wayne Rooney when he emerged as a youngster.

The Borussia Dortmund tyro is rated as one of European football's most exciting talents, having burst onto the scene with Birmingham City.

Last summer he made the move to the Bundesliga club and he's continued to make impressive strides. Bellingham has cemented his position as a starter for Dortmund despite being just 18 years old and is also in contention to start for his country frequently too.

Unsurprisingly, his talent is said to have caught the eye of some of the continent's biggest clubs. Liverpool are reportedly interested in a possible £80 million deal, according to the Daily Star .

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Speaking to This Is Futbol, Ball said there are aspects of the buzz around Bellingham that compare to Rooney, who was a force of nature as a 16-year-old at Goodison Park.

"He reminds me of the Rooney situation," he said. "A lot of people were talking about Wayne Rooney and he hadn’t played a game of senior football and it was like he wasn’t real until you actually go out and see the youth games.

"I knew Jude Bellingham for quite a while, heard of him, when he was 13 or 14 years old. Birmingham were bigging him up but you were thinking ‘he’s at Birmingham, he’s not going to be the star that people are making out’ but he’s surpassed that already."

Rooney made a major impression at youth level for Everton before he scored that goal against Arsenal in 2002 in the Premier League.

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The forward became England's youngest goalscorer in 2003 when he netted against Macedonia and he went on to become his country's all-time record goalscorer, finishing his international career with 53 international goals.

In the summer, Bellingham became the youngest player to represent England in a European Championship game.

Liverpool are blessed with a lot of options in central midfield. In Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara, James Milner and Fabinho there is plenty of experience for Jurgen Klopp to call upon, while Curtis Jones offered a reminder of his potential with a fine goal in the 3-3 draw with Brentford on Sunday.