In the past, Belgians have been more memorable for their quantities of mouth-watering chocolate rather than their somewhat mediocre football, but things have dramatically changed over the last few years and we are beginning to witness a true infiltration of Belgian ability.
When the Premier League receives an arrival of a certain nationality, each one comes a different approach to the game.
When Arsene Wenger moulded his Arsenal squad all those years ago (heavily influenced by French players), they possessed a rapid tempo, sleek, glossy style to their play with an abundance of flair and a pinch of arrogance.
The German’s, on the other hand, tend to inject a giant wall of no nonsense into their stern philosophy, but have a poignant habit of damaging opponents with a swift wave of counter attack football.
The Italian’s and Spanish are renowned for a much slower brand of passing, waiting for their competitors to press and as a result start leaving space behind their defensive ranks, which the Europeans are more than happy to puncture.
The Belgians, however, don’t have a particular touch to their game. They do though own a colossal amount of ability, as well as sublime movement and a bucketful of skill, which makes them a real treat to view, but the main attribute that distinguishes them from any other, and also escorts a breath of fresh air over the Premier League, is their readiness to anticipate their surroundings and make an instant judgement.
Take Marouane Fellaini for example. A physique that suggests his preferred position should be between the sticks and a haircut which deems suitable for a place in the Jackson 5, but his formidable facility in which he can read the game in an instant and split any defence in the blink of an eye is aiding him to flourish into arguably the form of his life. The way he is able to determine the direction of the ball and comfortably snatch it from the air with his chest, before creating himself some space and laying off a team mate is such a pleasing change from players who actively look to go through the back of an opponent whether they win the ball in the air or not.
The Premier League is currently reaping the rewards of a well structured youth set up from Belgium and long may it continue.