Fashions come and go in all walks of life and there is something currently in trend when it comes to recruiting players from Belgium.
Chocolate and Leffe beer may be more recognised as leading Belgium exports, but zinc and footballers are two growing areas, with 13 players from the nation already plying their trade in the Premier League.
The majority are first-team regulars for their domestic clubs and the ability of the current crop of Belgians is highlighted by the fact that they are just 16/1 to win the 2014 World Cup, despite not qualifying for a major tournament since 2002.
This is a shorter price than France (20/1), England (22/1) and Portugal (33/1).
The latest export to make an impact is Adnan Januzaj, whose cameo from the substitute’s bench in Manchester United’s home victory over Crystal Palace brought some excitement to what was largely a dull and inspiration-less performance.
Januzaj arrived from Anderlecht as a 16-year-old in 2011 and leaving Belgium at a young age is a route that many young talents from the nation opt to take.
However, there are still some bright prospects nurturing their talent in Belgium’s Pro League and three that may be worth casting a special eye on are below.
Youri Tielemans (16, Anderlecht)
Despite only turning 16 in May, Tielemans has already featured in three of Anderlecht’s first seven games of the league season, making his debut at a younger age than Vincent Kompany.
He has also already played for the Belgium under-21 side and been linked with host of Premier League teams, including Chelsea and Manchester City.
Tielemans’ engine arguably makes a box-to-box role his best position.
Massimo Bruno (19, Anderlecht)
Bruno has been one of the stand-outs of Anderlecht’s start to the season, already scoring five goals from his wide starting berth.
He became a first-team regular last season and his stock may well rise further if earning a spot in Belgium’s World Cup squad, which is not beyond the realms of possibility.
Jinty Caenepeel (17, Gent)
Caenepeel has not had much interest from the Premier League yet, but has been linked with Juventus.
He is yet to feature for Gent this season, although his talents will have been witnessed in the Belgium under-17 ranks. Game time for the tricky winger is sure to come later in the campaign.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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