Of all the great young Belgian prospects in world football at the moment, including Adnan Januzaj, Zakaria Bakkali and Dennis Praet, Youri Tielemans is perhaps the best young player, not just in the Belgian Pro League, but in world football.
Whilst his fellow Anderlecht team-mates such as Praet and Aleksandar Mitrovic sometimes take the spotlight away from Tielemans with their goals, it is the central midfielder who the media and pundits alike recognise as the best in the team.
The 17-year old’s greatest attributes are his passing and vision, as well as his eye for goal. Tielemans plays in a slightly deeper role within midfield than your typical central midfielder, yet he has been likened to Frank Lampard for his incredible timing when arriving in key spots in the opposition’s penalty area.
His long-range passing is astonishing. Whether it’s spraying the ball out wide or a delicately chipped pass over the opposition’s defence, Tielemans is capable of passing the ball anywhere, like a young Paul Scholes, and very rarely loses possession like Barcelona’s Xavi.
Tielemans plays the game with an incredible maturity for such a young player. He is in the middle of his second professional season and has played over 50 games for Anderlecht, whilst has also been a part of a squad that won last year’s Belgian Pro League, along with two Belgian Super Cups in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
The central midfielder made Champions League history when he made his debut in the competition back in October 2013, becoming the youngest-ever Belgian to play in the tournament at the age of 16 years, four months and 25 days.
The Anderlecht star has been linked with a transfer to just about every major club in Europe, but for the time being will remain in Belgium after signing what the club deem a long-term deal when he put pen-to-paper on his first professional contract. Barcelona, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have all been heavily mentioned with the starlet, but Atletico Madrid are reported to have agreed a deal in principle for the starlet.
At international level, Tielemans has been fast tracked into the Under-21 team and so far has three goals in seven caps, as well as having previously turned out for the U-15s, where he scored two in four appearances, and the U-16s of whom he scored for eight times in 10 games.