Belgium as a country is known for chocolates, brussel sprouts and being the capital of the European Union. In football terms, they’re a sleeping giant – the amount of talent which the Red Devils currently possess is frightening. In the next five years, I believe they will become one of international football’s dominant forces.
This is completely based on my opinion, so if you disagree than any comments would be appreciated. Below is a break down of who I believe are the best Belgian players in the World right now.
Belgium has one of the world’s best young keepers in Thibaut Courtois, he’s 19 years old currently playing for Atletico Madrid on loan from Chelsea. Thibaut is very similar to David De Gea, in the fact that he’s very gangly but ridiculously athletic at the same time. Like all ‘keepers nowadays his shot-stopping is spectacular and all which needs improving is his command on his area and his decision making. Here’s a montage of Courtois.
Toby Alderweireld, 22, Ajax ( Germinal Beerschot youth team) – A graduate of the Ajax academy. Could easily play as a defensive midfielder in my opinion. One of the best passers you’ll ever see as a centre half, long range, pinpoint passes are his forte. Has all the physical abilities of a dominant centre half, and Ajax will sell for the right price.
Jan Vertonghen, 24, Ajax (Germinal Beerschot youth team) – Linked with Tottenham and Arsenal, would be suited to the Premier League. Strong, quick and more than capable with the ball at his feet. He’s versatile and can play at left back, defensive midfield and in central midfield.
Radja Nainggolan, 23, Cagliari (ex Germinal Beerschot youth team and Piacenza) – Physically strong would be a perfect box-to-box midfielder although his defensive capabilities aren’t as good as they could be. His attacking attributes are brilliant though, he possesses wonderful technique and a ferocious shot too.
Kevin de Bruyne, 20, Chelsea (ex Genk, back on loan at Genk until the end of the season) – Quality accquisition for Chelsea – he’s a modern winger, playing on the wrong side – cutting inside and leaving defenders in his wake with his electric pace. Possesses the ability to pick a pass and has a powerful shot too. Here’s a montage of de Bruyne.
Eden Hazard, 21, Lille (ex Tubize youth team) – It is common knowledge that the Lille midfielder is top class, here’s a montage of Hazard. His younger brother, Thorgan who plays for Lens is also worth a watch, and Eden has often said his brother is the better player.
Nacer Chadli, 22, FC Twente ( ex Standard Liege and AGOVV) – Natural winger in the mould of Ryan Giggs (in his prime), his pace is his biggest asset which makes him extremely creative and has clearly got the attributes to play at a higher level.
Mats Rits, 18, Ajax (ex Germinal Beerschot – 23 games at Belgian highest level) – Arsenal’s scouts are frequent observers of the midfield starlet, Real Madrid are also reportedly interested. Young players with the craft and vision that Rits possesses are like gold dust.
Romelu Lukaku, 18, Chelsea (ex Anderlecht) – Massive things are expected of the ‘new Didier Drogba’. Lukaku is tall, powerful and clinical in front of goal. The striker has an exceptional goal scoring record for someone of his tender age. He is still very raw however, and in the Premier League he needs to develop the ability to read the game as talent alone will not carry him through until he gets up to speed with the pace about the pace of the division.
Jelle Vossen, 22, Genk – A prolific goal scorer, similar to Klaas Jan Huntelaar aside from Huntelaar’s lack of work ethic. Not blessed with electric pace although his pure desire and ability to read the game, allows him to fashion chances for himself. He’s a defender’s nightmare because he doesn’t stop working and half chances often end up in the back of the net.
Koen Casteels, 19, Hoffenheim, Goalkeeper (ex Genk)
Vincent Kompany, 25, Man City, Centre Half (ex Anderlecht)
Thomas Vermaelen, 26, Arsenal, Centre Half/Left Back (ex Ajax)
Dedryck Boyata, 21, Man City, Centre Half/Right Back (on loan at Bolton, ex Brussels)
Steven Defour, 23, Porto, Centre Midfield (ex Standard Liege)
Axel Witsel, 23, Benfica, Centre Midfield (ex Standard Liege)
Marouane Fellaini, 24, Everton, Centre Midfield (ex Standard Liege)
Dries Mertens, 24, PSV, Attacking Midfield ( Former Utrecht, AGOVV and AA Gent)
Maxime Lestienne, 19, Club Brugge, Winger ( ex Mouscron)
Moussa Dembele, 24, Fulham, Forward (Former Germinal Beerschot, Willem II and AZ)
Gianni Bruno, 20, Lille, Striker (ex Standard Liege youth team)
Christian Benteke, 21, Genk, Striker (Former Standard Liege)
A new golden generation is in the offing in Belgium and with the right luck, success for the country should not be far around the corner.