Trossard ready to join Belgian elite made in the Premier League

Brighton winger Leandro Trossard is ready to become the next Belgium star to thrive in the Premier League as he looks to impress manager Roberto Martinez ahead of Nations League clash with England

  • Brighton’s Leandro Trossard says the Premier League has made him a stronger
  • He was called up by Belgium last month and has impressed Roberto Martinez 
  • The winger is the latest of a host of Belgians honed in the Premier League 
  • Trossard could get an opportunity against England in the UEFA Nations League  

It took Leandro Trossard longer to make his Belgium debut than the other nine Premier League players in Roberto Martinez’s glamour squad but the 25-year-old Brighton forward has already made such an impression that he may be asked to deputise for the injured Eden Hazard today.

Trossard’s performance against Ivory Coast on Thursday suggested there is a new star in town — the latest example of Belgium using English football as a finishing school.

Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku top the list of Belgians who honed their talents in the Premier League and Martinez will also be able to call on players from Liverpool, Tottenham, Leicester, Wolves, Crystal Palace and now Brighton.

Leandro Trossard has taken well to life as a Belgium international since joining the squad

‘Playing in the Premier League against the best in the world has really opened my eyes in how to deal with pressure,’ says Trossard, whose journey into the world’s No 1-ranked team started at Genk with loan spells at Lommel and Oud-Heverlee Leuven.

De Bruyne agrees Premier League experience has helped Martinez build a world-class team. ‘The level is higher, the intensity, the quality. For us, it makes the national team better because the quality in the Belgian league isn’t the same.’

Though Martinez is without Thibaut Courtois, Hazard and almost certainly Napoli’s Dries Mertens, who is the victim of Italian travel restrictions, his squad will not be intimidated by facing England’s best.

The Brighton star was called up last month and has impressed during his time with the team

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has heaped praise on the attacker ahead of the England game

Trossard knows them all well. On his Brighton debut in 2019, he beat Declan Rice to a loose ball to score. A week ago, he witnessed the best and worst of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jordan Pickford as Brighton were beaten 5-2 at Everton.

He made his international debut a month ago and has slotted in seamlessly. ‘Roberto Martinez told me he had a lot of confidence in me. It is up to me to continue my form and make it hard for him not to give me minutes,’ he stresses.

‘I started at Genk when Kevin [De Bruyne] and Christian Benteke were in the first team. The Belgian squad has big players but they all welcome you as one of them. Then they show their quality on the pitch and you realise how good they are.’

Two years ago Trossard watched on the big screens that went up in every Belgian town square as his new team-mates finished third in the World Cup, twice beating England on the way. ‘When the national team plays, everyone gets together with friends and family and makes a good night of it,’ he smiles.

Trossard is the latest of a host of Belgium stars to have developed in the Premier League

Kevin de Bruyne is concerned that the busy fixture schedule will result in injury problems

There are some concerns about this fixture, however. Belgium’s 12-game winning run ended in a 1-1 draw against Ivory Coast and De Bruyne, who feels England are capable of winning next summer’s Euros, is anxious about fatigue, thanks to this season’s condensed fixture. ‘I had eight or nine days off in the summer and couldn’t go on holiday because my wife was pregnant,’ he says. ‘If the season goes on it will be two years without a break.

‘It takes a toll, especially mentally. I think your body needs to heal in a certain way but nobody listens to players anyway. I know people say you earn a lot of money and you should handle it. I can see a lot of injuries coming in January.

‘But whenever I go on the pitch I give 100 per cent. I can’t give 80 per cent and maybe that is not benefitting myself.’

But for Trossard this is his big moment and Martinez says: ‘I see the difference day by day. He really understood the meaning of the game against Ivory Coast. I enjoyed it.’ 

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