Belgium: A factory of talents

by Luchino Gastel

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

It is impossible to deny that Belgium and it’s National team, despite not being able to qualify to the last two editions of the World Cup or the last three of the European Cup, have recently become a hotspot for the birth of some of the most talented young football players currently found in Europe.

In the last few years many of the most important football leagues have started recognizing the true potential of the Belgian football school, and none have done so more than the Premier League. Currently in the top English division there are ten players with a Belgian nationality, and looking at the names we can safely say they hold the right to play at this level.

Marouane Fellaini for example, now 24 year old, arrived at Everton four year ago and in his first year in England managed to win the Young Player of the Year award. With his great stature, 1.94 cm, and imposing physique Fellaini could be seen as an ideal tackler, but his vision of the game and good skill with the ball allow him to become an extraordinary box-to-box midfielder. Currently Everton are in 6th place and this in no small part due to the great performances put forward by Fellaini, in 9 matches has already scored 3 goals, including a header which granted them a 1-0 win over Manchester United.

Another Belgian player that has already made a name for himself in England is Moussa Dembele. The central midfielder, 25 years old and who can just as easily play as a winger, arrived in 2010 at Fulham where he managed to instantly make a name for himself, collecting 75 caps over 2 season and scoring 5 goals. In 2012 he moves to the Tottenham, who paid the £15 million release clause, where he managed to score on his debut against Norwich City in the match which ended 1-1. First in Fulham and now with the Spurs, Dembele is proving to be an excellent football player capable of combining perfectly his quick pace with great ball control and finishing.

Another Belgian talent that arrived in England just last year at Chelsea is the young Romelu Lukaku. This physically overpowering striker, 1.90 cm, is considered by most as one of the most talented young players in his position. After having struggled to find space during his first year, only 8 appearances and no goals with the Blues, he is sent on loan at WBA where he is finally showing his true potential having managed to score already 3 goals in 8 matches.

Finally during the 2012 summer transfer window Chelsea managed to beat some very stiff competition and secure the purchase of Eden Hazard, in a transfer rumored to have cost around £32 million. An impressive fee for the 21 year old player who is certainly the greatest Belgian talent, but can also be seen as possibly one of the best youngsters currently found throughout Europe. Hazard, who is an attacking midfielder or winger, manages to combine together speed, dribbling, flair and ball control making him both spectacular to watch and impossible to defend against. Hazard has already gained the approval of the Blues supporters having scored 2 goals and made 9 assists in only 9 matches in the Premier League.

But the list of young Belgian talents in England is certainly not finished. There is Kevin Mirallas, 25 year old forward, moved from Olympiakos to Everton where he has already shown his talent by scoring 2 goals and providing 2 assists in his first start against Leyton Orient. Or Christian Benteke, 21 years old, who joined Aston Villa during the last transfer window for £7 million fee and has managed to score twice already in 7 caps.

So as we wait for the Belgian National team to start performing as it should, given the quality of players they have, we can’t help but thank them for becoming a true gold mine of young and talented football players.

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  • James

    Jan Vetonghen???

  • Luchino Gastel

    Oh certainly man Vertonghen is another great talent, unfortunately I didn’t have the time or space to include them all you know, so I had to pick and choose. Even outside of England there are some fantastic talents, for example there is Defour who is playing very well for Porto now or Nainggolan who has been playing at very high levels in Cagliari for the last two seasons.

  • Philip

    I can see Belgium doing really well at the World Cup or even in Europe in Championships

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