Belgium: Most valuable XI

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In recent years a vast number of talented young Belgians have emerged. Should they qualify, they will be dark horses for an advanced run at the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, with Euro 2016 perhaps being a more realistic target.

Here is Belgium's most valuable starting XI according to Transfermarkt, which includes seven Premier League players and adds to a combined total of over £215m

Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois | Atlético Madrid (on loan from Chelsea) | Value: £13m

The 20-year-old has impressed on loan at Atlético and won the Europa League last year, before beating parent club Chelsea to the Super Cup last summer. With nine caps already, he looks set to maintain the number one jersey for many years to come.

Right-back: Toby Alderweireld |  Ajax | Value: £8.8m

Aged 24, the powerful centre-back, who can also shift across to right full-back, has been linked with moves to both Merseyside clubs recently and has been a key member of Ajax's back-line since joining in 2008.

Centre-back: Vincent Kompany | Manchester City | Value: £31m

The physically-imposing Manchester City captain has been a revelation since signing for a bargain fee before City were taken over by foreign investors.

Centre-back: Thomas Vermaelen | Arsenal | Value: £16m

Arsenal's captain may have had a disappointing season so far, but his previously dependable form earns him a place to compete an all-Premier League centre-back pairing.

Left-back: Jan Vertonghen | Tottenham | Value: £16.5m

Both defensively and technically accomplished, Vertonghen struggled initially to gain a starting place in André Villas-Boas' side but his versatility has helped him as he has played at both centre-back and left-back.

Centre-midfield: Axel Witsel | Zenit St Petersburg | Value: £26.5m

After transferring to Russia with Brazilian Hulk for a fee of £32.5m, Witsel found himself at the centre of a racism row with the club's fans who have said they do not wish for any ethnic minority players to play for their team.

Centre-midfield: Marouane Fellaini | Everton | Value: £24.5m

Another big-haired central-midfield player, Fellaini, particularly at the start of the season, has been in scintillating form, netting 11 Premier League goals already this term and contributing six assists. He has been linked to some of England's biggest clubs throughout this season.

Centre-midfield: Mousa Dembélé | Tottenham | Value: £18.5m

Since making the short move from Fulham to Spurs last summer, Dembélé has been a reassuring presence in Tottenham's midfield with his creativity and strong surging forward runs making 37 club appearances in all.

Right-Wing: Dries Mertens | PSV | Value: £10.5m

The skilful winger has previously been targeted by Liverpool, according to The Sun, and has scored 13 goals and provided 14 assists in the Dutch League this season. A regular in Belgium's team, he has played eight times scoring twice. 

Left-wing: Eden Hazard | Chelsea | Value: £35m

Since his transfer to the champions of Europe last summer, Hazard has been somewhat criticised despite his 15 goals and 23 assists for club and country. At just 22, Hazard still has room to improve and his explosive playing style has opposition defences on alert throughout an entire 90 minutes. 

Striker: Romelu Lukaku | West Brom | Value: £16.5m

After a disappointing first season with Chelsea in which opportunities were hard to come by, the big Belgian has been a revelation for West Brom this season. Having bagged 13 league goals, he has become invaluable, and perhaps he can fill the void left by misfiring Spaniard Fernando Torres back at Chelsea.

Subs: Radja Nainggolan, Nicolas Lombaerts, Kevin Mirallas, Steven Defour, Kevin de Bruyne, Nacer Chadli, Simon Mignolet

Do you agree? Have your say in the comments section below, and follow me on Twitter: @muscat_george


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Simon Mignolet
Thomas Vermaelen
Romelu Lukaku
Vincent Kompany
Moussa Dembele
Marouane Fellaini
World Cup

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