It seems like he’s been around forever, but the fact is, Youri Tielemans is still only 19 years old. And with the sale of Steven Defour, he is not only starting now, but also the creative hub of Anderlecht’s team with Dennis Praet also moving on to a top 5 league this past summer. He’s been unleashed as the box-to-box midfield engine he truly is, driving forward in blistering runs, helping out Leander Dendoncker in defense, and monitoring the midfield in possession. He looked like he’d be a trequartista, even though he started off in his youth development as a holding midfielder in a midfield three, but he has found his niche in a Gerrard-esque role. Roberto Martinez has already given him chances for Belgium, and he could be the player to give Les Diables Rouges the balance they lacked so desperately in midfield during the Euros. You could say his breakout season was 2014-15, where he put in MOTM performances against the likes of Gent and Arsenal, but he struggled with form issues the following season, and now, it looks like he’s ready for a move to a top European club. After his return from an ankle ligament injury, he went on to score against Saint-Étienne on Sept. 29 in a complete midfield masterclass, and hasn’t looked back since. As 2017 approaches, his Anderlecht team are 2 points from the top, and his reputation is looking as solid as ever.
Photo Credit: Getty Images