The youngest one is seventeen, the senior class member is twenty-two. All of them could be the next big man in the world of football. I picked out six young Belgians in the Premier League who have the potential to carry on the Belgian invasion.
Andreas Pereira – Manchester United (Midfielder), Age: 18
Andreas is the son of Marcos Pereira, former Brazilian star at Antwerp FC. Just like his dad, Andreas loves spectacular goals. Based on his mixed origin, newspapers in Belgium already call him ‘The New Januzaj’. Pereira can pick between Belgium and Brazil if he wants to when he starts an international career, but he already made clear his heart is Brazilian, just like his way of playing football. The Belgian-Brazilian playmaker is a future star. Pereira signed his first professional contract with Manchester United in 2013.
Charly Musonda Junior – Chelsea (Midfielder), Age: 17
Seeing this kid play is a fine memory of his father to Belgian football fans. He has no need to look at his feet to know where the ball is. With a power you would never expect from a kid like him, Musonda sets up attacks and dodges tackles like it’s fun. Charly set off to London with his brothers, Lamisha and Tika, but there was no doubt that he is the most talented of the three. Charly is team captain at the Belgium U17 team.
Marnick Vermijl – Manchester United, on loan to NEC Nijmegen (Defender), Age: 22
Vermijl made it to the starting XI against Cluj in the Champions League last season. It was Sir Alex Ferguson who believed in this young talent. David Moyes on the other side preferred to put him on loan. Vermijl now plays for NEC, however a number of English clubs were interested. He decided to play for the Dutch side because he wanted more playing time and didn’t want to take the risk to stay in England and being called back to Manchester at any time. Vermijl is part of the Belgium national youngsters and won the U21 Championship with Manchester United last year. He was named the second best footballer in their (Januzaj being the best).
Jonathan Buatu Mananga – Fulham (Defender), Age: 21
Buatu joined Fulham in August 2013 after his contract with KRC Genk came to an end. Buatu is a strong center-back who also knows his way in midfield. Buatu was selected for all the Belgian age group representation starting with the U17. Buatu signed a one-year-deal with Fulham. The option for an extra year could hold the Belgian youngster in London until 2015. With the recent changes and uncertainty around the club maybe Buatu is capable of providing a much needed steel to a weak team?
Charni Ekangamene – Manchester United, on loan to Carlisle (Midfielder), Age: 20
Charni signed his first professional contract with Manchester United in December 2013. In January 2014, the club decided to put him on loan. He then joined Carlisle United. He caught the eye of the Manchester United scouts when he was playing at Antwerp FC, a club with close connections with the Red Devils. A strong player capable of playing either in a holding midfielders role, although this year has found him playing CB in Manchester United reserves.
Jason Denayer – Manchester City (Defender), Age: 19
Denayer originally played as a striker when he learned the beautiful game in Brussels with RSC Anderlecht. It was in his later youth when he learned to play as a defender. He arrived in Manchester after a stage session with Belgian side Waasland-Beveren. Denayer evolved into an upcoming talent under the control of Patrick Vieira. He has a youth contract with Manchester City until 2016, by that time he should be able to claim his first professional contract with ease. Denayer was also highlighted by Manchester Citys own Website as one to watch and has featured heavily in both the UEFA Youth League & the U21 League this season.