Anderlecht’s Youth Academy will help them grow in Europe in the future
We already all know Youri Tielemans by now, but he’s not the last “wonderkid” we’ll see in the near future coming from Anderlecht’s youth academy. Borussia Dortmund and especially Jurgen Klopp are big fans of the talented 17-year-old. Though he couldn’t prevent Dortmund from beating his team in the Champions League, you just need 5 minutes to see that he has everything to make it.
Anderlecht’s youth setup has been lauded around Europe in recent years since ploughing investment into their infrastructure. Vincent Kompany, Romelu Lukaku and Adnan Januzaj are the most famous Anderlecht products currently. Together with Racing Genk and Standard Liège they’ve produced the most internationals of all Belgians clubs.
By winning prestigious youth tournaments like the Future AEGON Cup and Viareggio Cup they see that their investments are paying off. Anderlecht even wants to step it up another level toproduce players like Tielemans more often. Giving their youth more chances they also hope that they can prevent players leaving Anderlecht early on in their careerlike Adnan Januzaj. Though, that’s not always that simple if you look to Jason-Eyenga Lokilo.
The last couple of years I have watched a lot of youth games in Belgium. One thing is sure, every opponent fear Anderlecht the most. Of course it has a lot to do with the fact that Anderlecht has won the most titles in Belgium but still, there’s a special atmosphere when Anderlecht’s youth players get off of the bus. They know the cream of the crop are coming to town.
Here are Anderlecht’s youth players that we’ll certainly hear of in the future:
Aaron Leya Iseka – Striker
He’s the brother of Michy Batshuayi from Olympique Marseille who played at Standard Liège but also a former Anderlecht youth player. To be honest, he’s one of the best strikers I’ve ever seen at that age. He’s a complete and modern striker, just like his brother. He combines pace with technique and is way too strong for his current opponents.
It would be good for him to get some opportunities next season, probably even this season, so he can play against much stronger defenders. I can’t name many weak points, even defending is not too much for the young striker. He looks mature when he enters the pitch and has eye for his teammates. He’s born to score goals. In his recent game in the Youth Champions League against Borussia Dortmund he proved again that he’s close to Anderlecht’s first team bench.
Alper Ademoglu – Playmaker
In the last couple of years Anderlecht had problems finding a new playmaker. With Dennis Praet, who made a lot of progress last year, Anderlecht finally found their saviour. It looks like Anderlecht won’t have to wait that long for when Dennis Praet leave Brussels for a new adventure. Alper Ademoglu has been given the tag of Anderlecht’s future architect. Though, I also see him developing into a box-to-box midfielder in the future.
Ademgolu is a player with great passing skills. He can be decisive with one pass and is able to control the game afterwards. He isn’t yet a fine product like Dennis Praet was at the same age but he’s very mature for his age. This season is very important for the midfielder which could bring him closer to Anderlecht’s A-squad. The fact that Anderlecht doesn’t have someone on the bench to replace Praet could maybe mean that we see him sooner as expected.
Wout Faes – Central defender
Some of you may know Wout Faes for receiving a shirt from his lookalike David Luiz for his birthday. The defender, who can also play as a defensive midfielder signed a professional contract along with Alper Ademoglu. He is an aerial force to be reckoned with. He’s very strong in almost wins every battle off the ground and Faes also has great tackling skills.
His passes and crosses could be better and that will be one of his working points this season. He made together with Ademoglu the step-up to Anderlecht’s U21-squad, where both normally still should play for the U19’s. Anderlecht’s U21 is in general much younger than other youth squads in Belgium, due to the talent further down the ranks. It isn’t so strange if you realise that Anderlecht almost played with a U21 team against Galatasaray and Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.
Mile Svilar – Goalkeeper
Together with Leya Iseka, here’s the player who made the biggest impression on me. His father is a former goalkeeper who played for Royal Antwerp FC in Belgium. Some years ago they feared that his height could become a problem for the talented goalkeeper but recent growth spurts sorted that problem.
At the last edition of the Future AEGON Cup in Amsterdam, Svilar was one of the youngest players at the U17 tournament at just 14. He wasn’t nervous playing against the best players from 1997. He was very strong one-versus-one and also great, surprisingly, on corners. Shots outside his box weren’t a problem either for the young goalkeeper. It looks like that Thomas Kaminski, Davy Roef and Liam Bossin will have competition from another talented stopper soon. Anderlecht won’t have to worry when Silvio Proto decides to end his career or change club.
These are only a few youth players of Anderlecht’s talented youth academy. I could write much more articles like these, Andy Kawaya and Samy Bourard for example, but these are the players who made the most progression so far. The future is even more promising for Anderlecht after watching their younger teams. Some strong generations are getting prepared for the big work.
Standard Liège and Racing Genk are already in Anderlecht’s slipstream and we can only hope that Club Brugge, KAA Gent, Sporting Lokeren and other Belgian clubs also start to invest much more in their youth academies. You need patience but in the long term it will help the club, the Jupiler Pro League and eventually the national team of Belgium.