Youri Tielemans: The missing piece in Leicester City midfield
After completing a loan switch from AS Monaco, Youri Tielemans finally made his Leicester City debut against Tottenham. Although it ended in a disappointing 3-1 defeat, the 21-year-old gave a glimpse of things to come with an epic display.
Just 18 months ago, Tielemans was on top of the world. At 19, he was perceived as Belgium’s golden boy, courted by some of the biggest clubs in the world. He led Anderlecht to the league title as well as an impressive run in the Europa League.
Tielemans picked up every single accolade. He was awarded the Ebony Shoe as the best player of African descent in Belgium. While being selected as part of the Europa League squad, he also won the Belgian Professional Footballer of the Year.
A switch to Monaco lowered him from the pinnacle, however. Tielemans struggled to make an impact at StadeLoius II. The mass exodus of star players didn’t help.
Tielemans was in and out; Leonardo Jardim never really trusted him, preferring Fabinho and Joao Moutinho at the base of midfield. In his first season, he made 19 starts, however, and it was seen as a decent enough reference point from which to build.
He opened the season against Nantes in a midfield three under Jardim alongside 18-year-old Sofiane Diop and Jean-Eudes Aholou. His finale, 30 games saw him partner Cesc Fabregas and converted full-back Benjamin Henrichs, as a Monaco side mired in relegation trouble lost 2-0 to Dijon; in a miserable encounter.
At the King Power, it’s a different stage entirely. Tielemans has a bigger platform to prove just why he was so highly-related during the early years of his career. Judging by his performance against Spurs, Foxes should dare to dream.
Playing alongside Wilfred Ndidi, Tielemans totally bossed the midfield. He was fantastic with his dribbling and passing, freeing up the likes of Demarai Gray and James Maddison. The 21-year-old picked out Harvey Barnes with a superb through-ball in the opening exchanges and continued to provide more creativity in Claude Puel’s engine room throughout the game.
He is two-footed, with pace to burn, an impressive range of passing and a lethal shot both from distance and set plays, he could be the final piece in the Foxes middle.