Mousa Dembélé flying the flag for Belgian success story away from home
The supposedly hard-to-compile list of famous Belgians – Eddy Merckx; the man who wrote Tintin; er, that's it – may soon have to exclude footballers if it is to preserve any degree of difficulty. All of a sudden the country has a crop of young players making a name for themselves.
Two of them are to be found at Tottenham, yet Mousa Dembélé is as mystified as his compatriot Jan Vertonghen by the current flowering of talent. "To be honest, for me it's just coincidence," he said. Indeed, the Belgians' development has often been completed elsewhere: the two Spurs men both played in Holland, while Chelsea's Eden Hazard and Everton's Kevin Mirallas were honed in France.
This afternoon Dembélé will come up against another of the crop in West Bromwich Albion's Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku, someone he knows particularly well: "We're from the same city [Antwerp] and he's the cousin of my best friend. I knew him from [age] eight or nine. When he went to Chelsea it's not so easy as a young guy, but everyone in Belgium knows what he's capable to do."
Dembélé was more experienced than Lukaku when he joined Fulham from AZ Alkmaar and took "not such a big step" in his stride. He recently criticised Spurs for lacking sufficient motivation in their FA Cup defeat at Leeds, but insists that will not be a problem at the Hawthorns. "West Brom are not far from us [in the table] and we are motivated. We know what we have to do and we want a Champions' League slot."
West Bromwich Albion v Tottenham Hotspur is on Sky Sports 1 today, kick-off 1.30pm
Latest in Sport
Frank Lampard was RIGHT not to celebrate Manchester City's equaliser against Chelsea
All Blacks Aaron Cruden misses New Zealand flight after drinking session, has brilliant excuse
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Five reasons why Louis van Gaal is a worse Manchester United manager than David Moyes
Sam Wallace: Louis Van Gaal struggled at start of Bayern’s Double-winning season, but United’s problems run deeper and this league is less forgiving
- 1 iOS 8 apps and features: eight iPhone settings you need to look at after you install update
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God