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5 Belgium starlets to watch as ‘new Eden Hazard’ visits Tannadice for Scotland U21s showdown

Starlets on show
Starlets on show

Belgium’s senior side sit atop the FIFA world rankings, with Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne spearheading a golden generation.

But who are the next generation?

And do they have the potential to succeed their illustrious compatriots in the future?

Scotland fans can find out for themselves at Tannadice on Tuesday evening when Scot Gemmill’s U21s cross swords with the young Belgians.

Ahead of a mouth-watering challenge in Dundee, Courier Sport puts some of the top visiting talents under the microscope.

Marco Kana (Anderlecht)

Dubbed the ‘next Vincent Kompany’, Kana made his Anderlecht debut in August 2019, just a fortnight after his 17th birthday.

The classy defender, who is now coached by Kompany at club level, has gone on to make 23 appearances and was linked with a switch to Southampton last summer.

Confident: Kana

As well as a burgeoning reputation at Anderlecht, Kana has represented Belgium at U16, U17, U19 and now U21 level.

Born in DR Congo before moving to Belgium as a child, Kana won his sixth cap for Jacky Mathijssen’s young Red Devils in their 2-0 victory against Turkey last Friday.

Amadou Onana (Lille)

Highly-rated Onana is fresh from a £6 million summer switch from Hamburg to Lille.

Originally hailing from Senegal, the tough-tackling midfielder was recently named Belgium U21 captain. He will be the heartbeat of the side at Tannadice.

Standing at 6ft4ins tall, Onana is an accomplished ball-winner, eats up the ground with ease and is adept at dictating the play from deep.

He already boasts 14 appearances for Lille, including Champions League outings against RB Salzburg and Sevilla.

Koni De Winter (Juventus)

De Winter was a youngster on the books of Lierse and Zulte Waregem before Serie A giants Juventus swooped for his services in 2018.

Standing at a dominating 6ft2ins and sufficiently versatile to operate across the backline or in defensive midfield, the 19-year-old is considered one to watch in Turin.

He turned out for Juve’s senior side in a friendly against Cesena during the summer, while he was named in their match-day squad for a Serie A showdown against Napoli on September 11.

De Winter strides out from the back

However, De Winter is yet to make his first-team breakthrough with Juve, instead thriving with their U23 side, which plays in Serie C.

Yari Verschaeren (Anderlecht)

Linked with Milan earlier this year, Verschaeren has already won six senior caps for Belgium — scoring in a 9-0 demolition of San Marino — and made 82 appearances for Anderlecht.

A diminutive, intelligent attacking midfielder, Verschaeren will seek pockets of space between the lines and look to find a killer pass or shot.

At the age of 20, he already boasts 13 career goals, including one from seven caps at Belgium U21 level.

If looking for an ‘I was there’ moment at Tannadice, the chance to catch a formative Verschaeren — likened to Eden Hazard by Anderlecht president Michael Verschuren — could well be it.

Lois Openda (Vitesse, on loan from Club Brugge)

Openda, 21, can consider himself unlucky not to be in the senior set-up.

With injuries to Romelu Lukaku and Michy Batshuayi, many were tipping the in-form frontman — with five goals in his last five Eredivisie outings — to earn a maiden call-up to the full squad.

However, prolific Royale Union Saint-Gilloise striker Dante Vanzeir got the nod instead.

Openda will seek to take his frustration out on Scotland by adding to his 11 goals from 13 appearances at U21 level.

Scotland v Belgium Under-21: How to watch Euro 2023 qualifier on TV

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