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Friday Five: Belgians ready to impress

Brian Lofrumento picks out five of the Prem's most exciting Belgians

By | 26th July 2013
romelu lukaku

As the new Premier League season approaches, I’m sure there are few things more exciting than the return of the Premiership Talk Friday Five. Yes, I know what you’ve all been waiting for, and at long last it’s back! Only joking. Sort of…

Nonetheless, this first edition of the Friday Five’s return focuses on an overwhelming pattern around the Premier League: the emergence of an exceptional crop of Belgian starlets around the league. This week we’ll look at five Belgians to look out for during this upcoming season

1

Christian Benteke | The intimidating striker was one of the most impressive performers of last year’s Premier League, scoring a sensational 19 Premier League goals during his first season in England. Benteke was linked with a move to either Tottenham or Chelsea this summer, and surprisingly handed in a formal transfer request with Aston Villa just a year into his long-term contract with the Villans, but made a shocking u-turn before signing a brand new contract at Villa Park.

The jury is out on Benteke now that he’s ruffled some feathers at the club, and he has a lot of proving to do. Strikers at his level have struggled during their sophomore season before (I’m talking about you, Javier Hernandez!), but Benteke will be determined to not fall into that bucket. He’s got all of the attributes of a Premier League great, he just needs to focus and keep scoring goals.

2

Adnan Januzaj | Number two on this list has perhaps the most mystique surrounding him as very few people outside of Manchester United know about him. At only 18 years of age, Januzaj is widely regarded as the most promising youngster within the Old Trafford ranks, and appears set to break into David Moyes’s first team this season.

Januzaj has been a creative force during the club’s preseason tour of Asia this summer, but is no stranger to success at the club. He was named their Reserve Player of the Year last season, and has been enjoying the benefits of being mentored by none other than Ryan Giggs. Januzaj has Kosovan roots, but having grown up in Belgium he has already made it clear that he’s keen to represent the aptly named Red Devils (the nickname for not only United, but the Belgian national team). Januzaj featured on the bench in Sir Alex Ferguson’s last match as manager, so he’ll be hoping to make his Premier League debut soon under new boss David Moyes.

3

Romelu Lukaku | If you haven’t seen Lukaku at his best yet, get ready for a wild ride at Stamford Bridge this season. Lukaku was sensational for West Bromwich Albion during his loan spell last season, and the giant Belgian is the closest current comparison to former Chelsea great Didier Drogba (despite the fact that Jose Mourinho wants Lukaku to make his own name). Like Benteke, Lukaku was impressive in front of goal last season, grabbing 17 Premier League goals for the Baggies.

Lukaku gave the biggest indication of what’s to come on the final day of the season as he made history by scoring a hat trick during Sir Alex Ferguson’s last match before retirement. Now, Lukaku is back at Chelsea, and under new boss Jose Mourinho he can most definitely flourish. The Belgian has already been impressive during the club’s preseason tour, grabbing four goals from three matches. There’s much more to come from this 20 year old!

4

Simon Mignolet | If there was one thing that was certain at Anfield at the end of last season, it was that Spanish goalkeeper Pepe Reina would once again be the club’s undisputed number one this season. Instead, Reina has since been loaned out to Italian giants Napoli, while Simon Mignolet has become the first Belgian player to ever turn out for Liverpool. Mignolet made his name in the Premier League for Sunderland, and at just 25 years old he’s undoubtedly one of the youngest starting goalkeepers for a major European club (go on, get your comments out below!).

Brendan Rodgers clearly has a lot of confidence in Mignolet, as evidenced by his decision to pay £9 million for the player and loan Reina out, and for that reason Liverpool supporters will be confident about his arrival. If Mignolet can do the business for the Reds and Rodgers can either keep or properly replace Luis Suarez, Liverpool may just be a top four contender once again.

5

Eden Hazard | Last but not least is Chelsea attacking midfielder Eden Hazard. Far too many people have forgotten about the vast talents of Hazard following his first season in the Premier League, but make no mistake about it: Hazard is a contender for this season’s PFA Player of the Year award. The 22 year old is a phenom; he scored 9 goals from midfield in his debut season, and added an impressive 11 assists, all while playing second fiddle to Spaniard Juan Mata when it came to providing a creative outlet. Mata may have stole the headlines last season, but Hazard will be noticed this season.

Hazard was sought by many of Europe’s biggest clubs prior to being signed by Chelsea, and he didn’t disappoint during his debut season. With that said, he’s still incredibly young, and the only way for him to go is up. With a Europa League medal now under his belt, Hazard has gotten a taste of winning, and Jose Mourinho will only further fuel the desire to win more. This is a guy to watch this season!

Honorable Mentions: The defenders! There’s a lot more Belgians around the Premier League, but no list would be complete without the presence of Jan Vertonghen of Tottenham and Thomas Vermaelen of Arsenal. The two defenders are the most experienced Belgians in the league, and are some of the most reliable center backs around. Unfortunately for them, they’re not quite as exciting as the five listed above, hence their exclusion from the Friday Five…this time around!

Which Belgians are you most looking forward to watching this season? Have your say below!



Reader Comments

The below views are those of our readers and do not reflect the opinions of Premiership Talk or its employees.
  1. Minir A Rexha says:

    Adnan Januzaj :)

  2. Minir A Rexha says:

    Too bad for Belgium, he's going to play for Albania.

  3. Minir A Rexha says:

    Too bad for Belgium, he's going to play for Albania.

  4. Davy Cielen says:

    Kevin De Bruyne is really an exciting player to follow.

  5. Awab Nawari says:

    they have a mad team man, lead by THE BEAST.

  6. Am sure kompany is Belgium. Fellani, vertonghen tv and mirrales. I hope they do well in the world cup next year

  7. Am sure kompany is Belgium. Fellani, vertonghen tv and mirrales. I hope they do well in the world cup next year

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