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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The Belgian Revolution in the English Game

Over the past few seasons, a multitude of highly talented young Belgian stars have started to make their way into the Premier League producing continuous quality performances for their respective clubs.

Belgian players have long been apart of the top tiers of English Football, But not until quite recently have the number of players playing in England skyrocketed! Great names such as Eden Hazard, Marouane Fellaini, Jan Vertonghen, Moussa Dembele, Thomas Vermaelen and even Belgian Captain Vincent Kompany currently call England home.

The current crop of Belgian players in the EPL are by far the best the English game has ever experienced, The youth and potential of the bunch could not only lead the club game to a higher level but also could spell a new chapter in Belgian international football. With young stars with the pure ability and pedigree of the likes of Hazard, Kompany and Dembele the future looks extremely bright.

The current list of Belguin players in the Premier League are:

  • Christian Benteke, Aston Villa    Age: 21
  • Moussa Dembele, Tottenham     Age: 25
  • Marouane Fellaini, Everton         Age: 24
  • Eden Hazard, Chelsea                Age: 21
  • Vincent Kompany, Man City        Age: 26
  • Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea/WBA  Age:19
  • Simon Mignolet, Sunderland       Age: 24
  • Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal       Age: 26
  • Jan Vertonghen, Tottenham         Age: 25 

Everyone of the list above has played internationally for Belgium and all are huge components of their clubs plans going forward. Kompany and Vermaelen are mainstays in both the Manchester City and Arsenal defences respectively, And Tottenham are hoping that over time they can groom Vertonghen into that same mould. Simon Mignolet the long time back-up to Scottish number one Craig Gordon, has seemingly made the Black Cats number one shirt his own with Gordon's departure to Southampton.

Lukaku has been touted for years as a raising star but unable to break into a jam packed Chelsea line-up the 19 year old is on a season long loan at West Brom and the change in scenery seems to have done wonders for him. Bentake the newest of the Belguin fleet to arrive on English shores secured a 7 million pound move to Aston Villa from K.R.C Genk on transfer deadline day and he himself has hailed the move to the English Premier League as "A dream come true".

Marouane Fellaini a relative veteran for the EPL now, as incredibly this is the actually man with the "Fro's" fifth season at Everton. And by the way he's been playing already in season 2012-13 this could very well be the breakout year that David Moyes has been forecasting for some time now. Still only 24 one has to assume that Fellaini's best years are still in front of him.

Moussa Dembele was the second Belgian acquisition made by Andre Villas-Boas this off-season. The magical Belgium playmaker is already being touted by many in North London as a perfect replacement for Luka Modric. Not a newcomer to the Premier League after spending the past three seasons with Martin Jol at Fulham. Time will tell if Dembele can replace the creativity and attacking prowess of Modric.

And then of course who many believe to be the 'pick of the bunch', the 'cream of the crop' Eden Hazard the 21 year old dynamo that has already set Ligue1 alight in France with his 36 goals in 147 appearances from midfield for Lille. With seemingly every team with sizable back pockets looking to lure Eden to play for them over the summer, In the end it was Chelsea that managed to snatch the future star for a reported fee in the region of 32 Million Pounds. Too much some said? Hazard wont be able to handle the pace of the English game some said, Overrated and untested others said. Time will tell, but from what he has produced so far in the Blue of Chelsea I'd say hes gone along way already in prove his doubters wrong.

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