Ten facts about Roberto Martinez’s squad for the Euros, some of which you may not know. Which club’s academy has had the most influence? Which club has supplied the most players to the 26? How many of them have never played in the Belgian League? How many centurions are there? And how many teenagers? All this and more
WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE: In Roberto Martinez’s squad of 26, no less than nine have never played in the Belgian league.
INFLUENCE AT AN EARLY AGE: Looking at the players’ early careers, Genk is the standout club with six of the squad having spent some of their formative years there: Thibaut Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne, Tim Castagne, Dennis Praet, Yannick Carrasco and Leandro Trossard.
THE LEICESTER CITY CONNECTION: Some might say it’s a surprise, but it’s Leicester City that have the most Belgian squad members: Castagne, Praet and Youri Tielemans. Another four clubs have two each, including Crystal Palace with Christian Benteke and Michy Batshuayi.
EXPERIENCE COMES WITH AGE: Belgium has the oldest squad in the tournament with an average age of 28.7, with only Sweden running them close. Belgium also has by far the most experienced squad, with an average of 50 caps per squad member.
CENTURIONS ABOUND: Belgium is the only squad at the Euros with four players having over 100 international caps: Jan Vertonghen, Axel Witsel, Toby Alderweireld and Eden Hazard. Hazard was the youngest player to reach 100 caps, aged 28.
GOAL-GETTERS: In terms of goals per international appearances, Belgium will have two of the top three at the tournament: Batshuayi and Romelu Lukaku. The former’s record is the slightly better of the two. *
THE CAPTAIN’S ARMBAND: Only Jan Ceulemans has captained Belgium more times than Eden Hazard, 51 and 45 times, respectively.
BIG IN JAPAN: The oldest player in the squad is Thomas Vermaelen, currently with Vissel Kobe in Japan’s J League. He’s never let Belgium down and was arguable their best player in 2016. Vermaelen is now aged 35 and roughly 200 days, but he’s not yet in the top 10 oldest Belgian internationals. Daniel Van Buyten is in 10th spot, having played for Belgium aged 36 and 148 days.
THE ONLY KID ON THE BLOCK: Rennes’ Jeremy Doku (19) is the lone teenager in the squad, although Anderlecht’s Yari Verschaeren – on standby – is the same age.
PREMIER LEAGUE DOMINATION: It’s no surprise that the Premier League supplies the most players to Belgium’s squad, with nine. That is followed by France’s Ligue 1 (four) and the Bundesliga (three).
‘* Thanks to the Athletic for saving me time with a couple of the statistics here. Much appreciated.