Over the past decade or so, Belgium has produced some exceptional footballers. The thing about these Belgian talents is that they start at a very early age and make considerable progress very soon, thus earning themselves a move abroad inevitably. Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois and Romelu Lukaku are just a few names in the long production line that Belgium has given to the world of football.
Another young Belgian, Youri Tielemans has been garnering the attention of many Premier League clubs owing to his performances for RSC Anderlecht. He has been heralded as ‘The Next Big Thing’ in Belgian football and already has over 150 appearances to his name, which is ridiculous for a 19-year old.
The central midfielder has been on the radar of many clubs for quite some time now, but Anderlecht have been strong in their resolve of holding on to their player as they feel a year or two more at the club would aid his progress.
The big clubs would surely have their sights on Tielemans, but what exactly will they be getting in the player? Here’s a scout report that will make it possible to understand what kind of player he is and what he will bring to the Premier League.
Football Background/ C.V
Tielemans was born in Belgium to a Belgian father, whereas his mother has Congolese roots. He joined Anderlecht’s youth academy at the age of 5 and went on to train there until 2013 when his career took an upward curve as he was handed a professional debut at the age of just 16. While many footballers only begin to get adjusted to life as a footballer at that age, Tielemans was thrown into the open and he didn’t disappoint, as he showed the maturity that belied his age.
When he made his debut in the league, he became the 4th youngest player in the league’s history. Many records tumbled down the closet for Tielemans, as he became the youngest Belgian to feature in a Champions League game, starting a tie against Olympiacos at the age of 16 years and 148 days.
He was consistently given a chance to prove himself in the first team and to his credit, he didn’t do too badly. Tielemans even started an away game at The Emirates, which his team won. Such showings obviously spurred him to be the player he is today and he owes a lot to the Anderlecht management for the trust they put in him. To date, Tielemans has 168 Anderlecht appearances and 34 goals to his name.
It’s only this season where he has truly grown into a player of prominence, as he has considerably added to his game, scoring 17 goals and laying on 10 assists in 38 appearances. His showings over the past 2-3 years have been good, but nothing special compared to his exploits so far this term.
Style of Play/ Strengths and weaknesses
Tielemans is a central midfielder who usually operates in the No.8 role. He has bundles of energy and can run throughout games, as a midfielder is expected to. Tielemans couples his energy levels up that up with exceptional passing. He’s always looking to make a pass and his teammates always look for Tielemans to spark up the game. The teenager is predominantly right footed but is equally capable with his “weaker” foot as well. He is very comfortable with the ball at his feet and has shown to be an able distance shooter, getting a decent amount of goals from long range efforts.
His strengths clearly lie in passing, stamina, shooting and interceptions. Tielemans has also shown that he is capable of getting into the box at the right time, something Frank Lampard was exceptional at. The Belgian has got the knack of timing his runs into the box and it is something that can’t be taught, it comes with experience and desire to score.
He stands at 5’9″tall enough to not be termed diminutive. But one place where he does lack is in his ability with aerial duels. Tielemans often comes up short in this department and has needed someone who is capable of doing that to play next to him in midfield. But at 19, he still has a long way to go and just like he improved his goals and assists tally, he can be backed to improve on this too.
Where will he fit in
Tielemans is more than capable of playing in a midfield three or two as he has all the qualities needed in a central midfielder. It’s usually recommended that he plays next to a defensive midfielder as that would allow him the freedom to surge forward and show his skills.
Arsenal should look to get one above his other suitors and sign him up as he would be an exceptional player for them over the course of the next years. The Gunners are currently missing some impetus from midfield, where Xhaka and Coquelin have failed to get it going. One thing that is sure is that he will make it to one of the big clubs someday and he will surely be successful.