With a host of Premier League clubs reportedly lining up a summer swoop, we profile young Anderlecht midfielder Youri Tielemans ahead of Europa League tie with Manchester United.
Place of birth: Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, Belgium
Tielemans has been with Anderlecht, his hometown club, since joining their youth setup aged just five, with the player even continuing his education until the age of 18 while trying to break through at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium.
In July 2013, less than three months after his 16th birthday, Tielemans made his first-team bow for the Belgian giants against Lokeren, making him his country's fourth-youngest top-flight debutant, and he has barely looked back since.
The youngster then followed up that feat by becoming the youngest Belgian - and the third youngest player ever - to play in the Champions League at the age of 16 years and 148 days, when he featured for Anderlecht against Olympiakos.
In each of his first two seasons at Anderlecht, Tielemans was voted Young Footballer of the Year (2014 and 2015), to go alongside other prizes such as Belgian Talent of the Year (2014) and Belgium's most promising newcomer (2015).
This season, the 19-year-old is one of the key players for Purple and White, and is the top team in Belgium's regular penalty taker, helping him amass 17 goals in all competitions prior to the visit of United.
Meanwhile, on the international stage, Tielemans - who is also eligible to play for DR Congo through his mother - has played for the Belgium U15 and U16 sides, before starring for his country's renowned U21s.>
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The senior call-up duly came, as he replaced former team-mate Steven Defour in the final 10 minutes against the Netherlands in November.
Style of play
Tielemans played as a deep-lying holding midfielder in his first campaign for Anderlecht, but manager Besnik Hasi then decided to push the player further forward into a position from where he could do more damage to the opposition.
The talented teenager responded by scoring eight goals in all competitions in the following season, many spectacular efforts from distance which have led to him being likened to former Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard.
His stock has risen tenfold this season as the goal return has increased. Three stunning goals in a week at the end of February for Anderlecht added further proof that he is destined for big things.
Tielemans is two-footed, has pace to burn, an impressive range of passing for someone so young and he also possesses a lethal shot both from distance and set plays.
Having started life as a defensive midfielder, Tielemans has picked up a range of abilities, but it is those attacking instincts, with the added bonus of his goalscoring prowess, that United must be wary of on Thursday.
Tielemans is on all lists of most promising young players in Europe. We know he is followed by big clubs.
Herman van Holsbeeck on Tielemans' talent
And despite being just 19, the youngster - whose idol is Zinedine Zidane - is already being lined up to captain Anderlecht at some point so highly do his club rate his leadership skills, but a summer departure may put pay to such an event occurring.
What they said…
"He is a phenomenon. There are not many players better than him." (Former Anderlecht and Sweden midfielder Par Zetterberg)
"We have always known Tielemans was a super talent. Whenever anyone asked me who I thought would go far, I would mention his name first." (Mohammed Ouahbi, Anderlecht youth coach)
"Actually, it's already extraordinary that we have been able to enjoy three seasons of such talent. Tielemans is on all lists of most promising young players in Europe. We know he is followed by big clubs." (Anderlecht sporting director Herman van Holsbeeck)
Source : http://www.skysports.com/football/news/11095/10832932/who-is-youri-tielemans-we-profile-anderlecht-midfielder-ahead-of-man-utd-clash