The Belgian pipeline has produced some unbelievable talents in recent years. Eden Hazard, Marouane Fellaini, Axel Witsel, Romelu Lukaku and Steven Defour are just a host of names that have made their mark on the continent after graduating from their respective Belgian clubs.
The latest boy on the scene is Anderlecht’s 18-year-old Dennis Praet. He’s only had two months in the limelight of professional football but he already seems to be making his name, being given a starting berth in the Champions League as well as accumulating 14 league appearances to date for the Brussels giants. He’s made his name on the terraces in Brussels after his goal defeated arch-rivals Club Brugge in the league and a start against AC Milan in Europe is a somewhat envious position he found himself in.
With the promising potential and the so far artful appearances from Praet, he insists that he is not getting carried away and despite the rumoured interest of some high-profile European outfits, that he is staying with not only Anderlecht, but who he really is: “I’m staying who I am and, away from football, I spend my time with my childhood friends. They’re not at all involved in football, and that’s what I need,” he told FIFA.com.
He’s made an admirable impression on his teammates too. Tom De Sutter thinks: “Dennis plays like Iniesta. He’s got good technique, he’s solid, holds onto the ball well, keeps things simple and doesn’t panic. His vision of the game is incredible.”
He has played at every youth level for his country and this year made the step from the U18s to the U21 side in just one year – a mark of his rapidly terrific progress.
Praet said: “If I’d opted for money, I would have gone elsewhere,” when referring to new contracts and potential transfer deals, but at 18-years-old, how long will this mentality continue? We hope he is a new generation of footballers, ones that love their hometown clubs and money does not attract them elsewhere!