With grassroots and national identity as topical as ever in international football discourse, Belgium have become a fascinating case, shooting up to 5th in the FIFA rankings and qualifying for the World Cup in style.
The implication in BBC’s report here – ‘The Secret to Belgium’s Success’ is: ‘Why can’t England produce such a close-knit crop?, and Chelsea’s Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku give some clues into what sets them apart.
De Bruyne explains that they’re ‘just a group of friends who’ve been playing together for a long time’, i.e. showing the importance of youth management, and ensuring that groups come through together, rather than just one or two as is often the case in England.
Romelu Lukaku, meanwhile, also cites the youth infrastructure, where kids are able to ‘train twice a day’, and the emphasis put on participating in youth tournaments to gain life experience.
Watch the interesting report below.
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