Henderson was roaring with laughter and had made it his business to get his young sidekick out of the firing line.
A few seconds earlier, the pair had been stopped by a European TV channel and Liverpool’s captain had been asked to give an appraisal of Bellingham.
Jordan Henderson and Jude Bellingham are England’s unlikely double act, inspiring their bid for glory at the World Cup in Qatar
‘He is a one-off and we have just got to let him keep enjoying his football,’ said Henderson. ‘He’s only 19, so let him enjoy it. He has been incredible in this tournament but for a long period of time now that has been the case with Borussia Dortmund and he has carried it into here.
‘He is going to keep going from strength to strength and being a big player for England.’
Bellingham stood quietly alongside, seemingly humbled by what he was listening to, but then things changed. The reporter seized his chance to ask one more question, given the interest in the midfielder’s next steps. ‘And (a big player for) Liverpool in the future?’ came the hopeful enquiry.
You do not need a crystal ball to see Jurgen Klopp is a fully paid-up member of Bellingham’s fan club and it can be said with certainty that they will be in the conversation if and when he feels inclined to pursue another challenge.
With that, however, Henderson drew everything to a halt. He had long since worked out the direction of enquiry and was not falling for anything that would create global headlines, hence his mirth. Bellingham played along, trying to act incredulous.
‘Oh, come on!’ he chirped. ‘You’ve ruined it for all of us!’
The pair have formed a bromance at the World Cup, but it has been a long-time in the making
There was something of a double act to it all but, then again, it was only a continuation of what we had seen on the pitch as England marched stylishly past Senegal into the World Cup quarter-finals. Bellingham had been fantastic and Henderson had one of his best nights of national service.
Many will be intrigued as to how the 32-year-old from Sunderland who plays in Liverpool has hit it off with the 19-year-old from Stourbridge who plays in Germany. But wherever one has been in Doha, the other has not been far behind — nor, for that matter, has Liverpool right back Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Take last Friday when the pair had to undertake media duties at the Al Wakrah Sports Club, the squad’s base. Bellingham would not leave to go back to the team hotel until Henderson had finished his commitments and their respect for each other is obvious.
You may assume this friendship has only blossomed in the last few weeks but the reality is it has been a long time in the making.
Before last summer’s European Championship, each member of the England squad was able to present another player with a red, velvet legacy cap, embroidered with the number reflecting the order in which they were called up for England duty.
Bellingham has also formed a close bond with Henderson’s Liverpool team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold as the midfielder continues to be linked with a move to Anfield
Henderson was the 1,170th player to be called up and Bellingham was number 1,258. England’s vice-captain chose to give Bellingham his cap, as he felt it was a gesture that showed the spanning of the generations. The teenager was so humbled, he asked to present Henderson with his in return.
As they returned from Al Khor, with thoughts beginning to turn to France and the last eight, they posted about each other on social media with images of them celebrating after Bellingham had created the opportunity for Henderson to score the opening goal against Senegal.
Bellingham argued Henderson does not get enough respect and his view is compelling, as even though England’s No 8 has won every major honour, played for his country 73 times and now scored at both the World Cup and Euros, many would not have him near Gareth Southgate’s team.
Southgate, however, sees things through Bellingham’s prism and his enthusiasm for having Henderson in peak condition cannot be overstated. How different this is compared to how Henderson reported for Euro 2020, when the lingering effects of a groin operation were debilitating.
Henderson has been an unlikely star for England in their games against Wales and Senegal
There is a revealing passage in his recently published autobiography in which he explains just how serious the issue was. Henderson left stitches in a wound after surgery just so he could train again but it was so uncomfortable he was having to apply treatment and fresh dressing every night.
It is a far cry from where he is now. Since Southgate introduced him against the United States, England have been much more robust and, with the assistance of Declan Rice, Henderson’s control in the matches against Wales and Senegal have enabled Bellingham to maraud.
‘In the game against the States, we were putting tremendous responsibility on Jude,’ explained Southgate. ‘That was a game which was difficult to work out the midfield, the pressing and the problem-solving and we thought Jordan helped that.
‘We think he is giving Jude a bit more freedom to go. He does not need to be quite as disciplined in his position. At the moment, he is still young and still learning when to press and when not to press. The positive of that is he turns over so many balls and regains them for you.
‘But it means we have got a bit of balance and I think this is the best version of Hendo we have had. He looks in good physical condition. His influence on the group is fantastic, it always has been. And to chip in with a goal, he really deserved that.’
Southgate was adamant the praise was merited. Bellingham, too, would have richly agreed.