Anderlecht’s Aegon Future Cup team: Who’s made for the top leagues in Europe?
Last weekend, I was in Amsterdam for the prestigious AEGON Future Cup, a yearly tournament created in 2010, organised by Dutch club AFC Ajax. I focused mainly on Belgian football so most of my attention went to Anderlecht’s side of course. I’ll tell you in this article who impressed me most and who maybe able to become Belgium’s next Golden Shoe winner.
Just to give you an idea how high the level of the tournament is I’ll give you a list of players who played at the AEGON Future Cup over the last couple of years.
Dennis Praet (RSC Anderlecht), Davy Klaassen (AFC Ajax), Jon Flanagan (Liverpool FC), Youri Tielemans (RSC Anderlecht), Jack Robinson (Liverpool FC), Lesley de Sa (AFC Ajax) and many more…
This year the Adidas Best Player of the AEGON Future Cup is Abdel Nouri. I have to admit, I haven’t seen many youngsters touch a ball like he does. Huge potential and without doubt somebody we’ll hear from in the future.
Alper AdemogluNot that long ago Anderlecht announced the news that Ademoglu signed a professional contract with the club. Anderlecht was happy and relieved, certainly after the rumours that a lot of clubs were eager to sign the midfielder of Turkish origin. The midfielder and his parents decided that it was better to develop his talent at Anderlecht’s academy “Neerpede”.
Youngsters like Youri Tielemans, Dennis Praet, Chancel Mbemba and Massimo Bruno got their chances at Anderlecht, which likely persuaded Ademoglu to join the club. Alper Ademoglu impressed with his through balls and technique to keep possession. He couldn’t impress like Abdel Nouri did with Ajax but that’s not only Ademoglu’s fault. He didn’t have the same quality in his team like Ajax has. Certainly a player we’ll see once in the first team of Anderlecht the coming years.
I was surprised that Mile Svilar was part of Anderlecht’s U17 that would participate in this edition of Ajax’ AEGON Future Cup. The son of former Antwerp goalkeeper Ratko Svilar is only 14 years old! Most of the players of the AEGON Future Cup are two years older. The difference is certainly noticable for a goalkeeper of his size.
He impressed in all the matches he played and wasn’t afraid in aerial duels against much bigger and stronger players. He has inherited his father’s qualities and is maybe even set to become a better goalkeeper than his dad was. The only concern is his size but he’s only 14-years old so he can still have a growth spurt the next couple of years. I’m sure this AEGON Future Cup tournament was a great experience for the young goalkeeper.
Aaron Leya Iseka
It’s already certain that, when Leya Iseka will make his debut for Anderlecht, a lot of fans and analysts will compare him with his brother Michy Batshuayi from Standard Liège. To be honest, the comparisons are fair. Strong, technique and pace, the same qualities his brother has utilised in this season’s Jupiler Pro League.
Leya Iseka already signed a contract last year with Anderlecht and the club even tried using him to convince his brother to trade Standard Liège for Anderlecht in January’s transfer period. It’s a shame that Anderlecht paid €2 million for David Pollet if you have a youngster like Leya Iseka in your youth academy.
Wout FaesI have to say that I wasn’t really impressed about Wout Faes’ tournament. He won most of his duels but his passing wasn’t really what you would expect from the so called “white Kompany”. Anderlecht invested a lot in the youngster so there’s no doubt that Faes can do much better than what he showed at the AEGON Future Cup. One mediocre tournament doesn’t mean that you’re a bad player though.
A lot of clubs like Chelsea, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and many others were interested in the David Luiz look-alike. Anderlecht did everything to keep the youngster at their academy and finally a weeks ago, Faes signed his first professional contract with the club. Both Anderlecht and Wout Faes are convinced this was the best move for his career, walking the same path like Vincent Kompany did a decade or so ago.
For me personally the best player of Anderlecht’s side at the AEGON Future Cup or at least the player who impressed me the most. Maybe he doesn’t have the same talent like Alper Ademoglu, Leya Iseka and Wout Faes but certainly a player who could become important for Anderlecht and maybe even bigger clubs. He impressed with his hard work and he’s definitely a nightmare for most defenders.
The striker plays a bit in the shadow of the talented Leya Iseka but the competition between the two will do both players good. Oliver Sarkic is also one year younger than his teammate so he still has time to develop. Anderlecht should try to do everything to convince the Montenegrin player to sign a contract with the Belgian club once he turns sixteen this summer.
I’m a big fan of players like Jason Eyenga-Lokilo. Beautiful style and always keen to dribble but he impressed me the most with his striking technique. He illustrated that with some good free kicks and corners at the AEGON Future Cup. It always difficult to predict if a player with his capacities will ever break through in a club’s first team but he has something special.
A lot of scouts from big European clubs already have his name on their list, certainly in France. Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique Marseille to name two, already tried to convince Lokilo to play for their team when he was 13-14 years old. The youngster wanted to stay at Anderlecht however and hopes he once get his chance to show his potential here in Belgium.
Of course not all of these great talents will once play in Anderlecht’s first team. But I prefer to have players from your own academy in your squad instead of foreign bench-warming players who cost the club a lot of money. Anderlecht can still learn a lot from Ajax who give their youth a lot of chances before buying a foreign player.
Though we can’t complain this season in the Jupiler Pro League if you see how many youngsters have had the chance to play at the highest level. You could say that they’re forced to because they just can’t afford the better players in Europe anymore but it’s still an encouraging trend. Let’s hope that all the Belgian clubs will keep on investing in their youth academies in the future.