A look at the Belgium U21 squad to play Scotland tonight

By | August 14, 2012

Tonight, the Belgium U21s face Scotland in a friendly match in Dunfermline. It’s the first match for the new U21 coach, Johan Walem and is ahead of Belgium’s two European Championship games. It’s unlikely that they’ll qualify from their group and the truth is that this age group does seem to lack a bit of quality.

Romelu Lukaku – played a handful of times for the U21s

The U21s suffer from losing players who seem to jump from the U18s / U19s to the national squad without appearing in the higher age group. Several precocious Belgians – Thibaut Courtois (20), Kevin Be Bruyne (21) and Eden Hazard (21) have all signed for Chelsea without featuring in the U21s. Romelu Lukaku (19) played a handful of games. Anderlecht’s Dennis Praet (18) is seen to be a special talent. He’s clever, fast and can score goals. Praet has everything that a modern midfielder needs; all he lacks is a bit more power and that will come with his switch to the professional ranks. For some reason though, he’s rarely played for the junior national sides.
The special group is said to be the U17s, which Johan Boskamp, who likes making such comments, described as the most talented group ever seen in Belgium. Not that many of them live in these parts any more. The squad includes Charly Musonda Junior (15), Manchester United’s Andreas Pereira (16), PSV’s Zakaria Bakkali (16), Manchester City’s Mathias Bossaerts (16) and Genk’s Siebe Schrijvers (16). I’ll aim to put more on the log about these guys as the season progresses.

The revised U21 squad (in detail):

Keepers: Koen Casteels (Hoffenheim), Thomas Kaminski (Anderlecht)

Defenders: Dedryck Boyata (Bolton), Dino Arslanagic (Standard), Laurens De Bock (Lokeren), Pietro Perdichizzi (Zulte Waregem), Bryan Verboom (Anderlecht), Jason Adesanya (Lierse

Midfield: Paul-José Mpoku (Standard), Thomas Meunier (Club Brugge), Ibrahima Cisse (Standard), Alpaslan özturk (Beerschot), Lamisha Musonda (Chelsea), Hannes Van Der Bruggen (Gent).

Forwards: Maxime Lestienne (Club Brugge), Thorgan Hazard (Chelsea), Dolly Menga (Lierse), Badibanga (Anderlecht).
U21 squad vs. Scotland
Looking at the squad announced last Friday, it was good to see Standard striker Michy Batshuayi included even though he hasn’t figured for the first team so far this season. Sadly he dropped out today, presumably still not match fit. Others to note are Club Brugge’s Thomas Meunier, who some people tipped for the senior squad, and, for various reasons, Lamisha Musonda and Thorgan Hazard, both of Chelsea. I wrote about these players in a previous article as they don’t seem to be at Chelsea for totally sporting reasons.
Of the two U21 goalkeepers, Koen Casteels of Hoffenheim was the understudy, for one season, of Thibaut Courtois at Genk. He should probably have stayed there for another season. Kaminski is the current understudy to Silvio Proto at Anderlecht.
In defence, Lokeren’s Laurens De Bock is one of the most talented young defenders in the league. Bryan Verboom, 18, has just broken into the Anderlecht squad and Marnick Vermijl has been earning good reviews at Manchester United, although he also left the squad today. Dedryck Boyota is in the squad but his career seems to be stagnating.
It’s good to see Standard’s Ibahima Cisse get a call-up as he was very impressive in their opening match of the season. Hannes Van der Bruggen, Gent, is a class act and is one of the more experienced players in the squad.
The squad is certainly short of fire power now that Batshuayi is out; neither of Club Brugge’s Maxime Lestienne or Lierse’s Dolly Menga are first choices at their clubs.

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