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Adnan Januzaj leads Belgium's next era

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The future is looking extremely bright for Belgian football and the Red Devils after a successful showing at this summer's World Cup reaching the quarter-finals.

Stars such as Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois are already part of a growing core of super talent heralding from Belgium, but who will be the next crop of young players to come through the ranks?

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Youri Tielemans

Tielemans is currently an is a Belgium under-21 international who has been making waves for well over a year now following his first-team debut for Anderlecht last season at the tender age of 16.

During this period, he become the youngest Belgian player ever to play in the Champions League and is currently regarded by many as the best Belgian talent in recent years.

Considering the wealth of talent that the Belgians have amongst their ranks, one could make a fair argument that there are others who are just as good as Tielemans, perhaps better.

But very few have burst onto the scene and played against quality competition such as PSG and Borussia Dortmund at age 16 in the the heart of midfield with a pass completion of 79 percent and 87 percent respectively. 

Tielemans is a versatile midfielder, capable of playing as an attacking midfielder and a deep lying playmaker. However, he clearly excels in the role of a box-to-box midfielder due to his intelligence in play, passing ability and composure in carrying the ball from deep, displaying similar traits to his compatriot, Moussa Dembele.

His stats are also encouraging to see at his age, having scored once and assisted twice in 11 games this season alone. 

Despite having turned down moves to some of Europe's elite over the past few years, Tielemans's development and performances could well see some incredible offers heading Anderlecht's way very soon.

In addition to being the youngest Belgian player to ever play in the Champions League, he is the first player (currently) born in 1997 to play in the competition. 

Charly Musonda

Chelsea's academy have recruited a vast number of talented youngsters since Roman Abrahamovich's takeover in 2003, but almost all have failed to make the grade.

Interestingly, of the 26 players currently out on-loan, 18 of those players have joined Chelsea at the age of 18 and under (home-grown and international), which includes the likes of Gael Kakuta, Joao Rodriguez and Islam Feruz. 

But, there is one talent that differs from the rest. Charly Musonda.

Musonda was signed from Anderlecht at the tender age of 15, alongside his brothers Tiki and Lamisha, and is now currently starring for the U21 outfit at 17.

So far in his early career he has gone to show that he possesses great speed, intelligence and trickery all of which have become essential tools to becoming the modern day winger.

Despite his slight frame, Musonda is not afraid of taking on his man, beating him and scoring, which is exactly what he did in the Premier League U21 final last season against Man Utd. 

At 17, the youngest Musonda has time to grow and hone his skills in order to stake his claim for a starting berth in the first team and although chances for youth players at Chelsea do not come often, he certainly has the ability and potential to do so and has stars such Hazard, Willian and Andre Schürrle at hand to help him. 

Zakaria Bakkali

Bakkali broke onto the scene last season for PSV in extravagant fashion bagging a hat-trick on his debut, whilst being the youngest Eredivisie player to do so at 17 years and 196 days old.

The previous player to have scored a hat-trick at 17 in the Eredivise was Arjen Robben, and how Bakkali would love to achieve something near the career the Dutchman has enjoyed.

His talent and knack for scoring goals has not gone unnoticed by the Belgian national side, having risen exponentially over the past couple of years through the ranks.

Bakkali displays great skill and clinical finishing for a player of his age, however, he can unnoticed in games at times. But he has plenty of time on his side and possesses the potential to become a player or real importance for club and country.

Adnan Januzaj

Januzaj needs no real introduction here, simply because he is currently one of the brightest young players in world football, marking his starting debut for Manchester United with a duo of clinical finishes against Sunderland.

Despite their torrid 2013-14 season, Januzaj proved to be one of the players that fans could look forward to seeing for years to come after committing to United till 2018. He has also received the legendary No.11 shirt this season as he starts to build his career as one of United's all-time greats, following in the shoes of Ryan Giggs. 

The 19-year-old is fearless in his play and despite the arrivals of Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao to the first-team set up, Januzaj will have the opportunity to improve alongside world class talent and under the tutelage of Louis van Gaal.

Van Gaal has an impressive record of bringing through youth players such as Clarence Seedorf, Andres Iniesta and Thomas Muller.

Januzaj finally broke his silence earlier this year on which country he would be representing at international level having not opted to play for any nation at youth level, despite having Belgium, Kosovo and Albania as options.

Finally, before the World Cup commenced, Januzaj revealed he would be committing his allegiance to Belgium, who were over the moon to have another quality star in their ranks.

Januzaj was almost immediately selected in Belgium's World Cup squad following his decision and and will now play a prominent role on the road to Euro 2016.

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Topics:
Belgium Football
European News
Eden Hazard
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