Go back to the start of the 21st Century, and Belgium was a football nation with a lot of growing to do. Though it had produced a fine number of stars over the years, ranging from the likes of Luc Nils to Enzo Scifo, Marc Wilmots, Michel Preud’Homme and Eric Gerets, the talent well was drying up in some circles. However, step forward to 2021, and it is clear that Belgium is now a genuine world power.
A multicultural team of stars who play all across the major leagues in the world, Belgium have arguably surpassed their neighbours, The Netherlands, in sheer talent production. Look closely at the Belgian setup, too, and this does not appear to have been a flash in the pan; at youth level, Belgian players are making a huge impression.
The domestic league has a large part to play in this, with many stars coming through clubs outside of the elite of Anderlecht, Standard Liege, and the Brugge clubs. One name to keep an eye on for the future in Belgian football is Milan Taildeman.
A young left-back born in June 2001, Taildeman is on the books of Oud-Heverlee (OH) Leuven. Leuven has been home to many impressive players over the years, with former internationals such as Logan Bailly, Denis Odoi, and Leandro Trossard within the Belgian setup. Internationally, other players include the likes of Filip Benkovic, Sory Kaba, Runar Runarsson, Tony Watt, Bartosz Kaputska, and Andy King to name but a few.
A versatile full-back as comfortable on the left as on the right, Taildeman has made a name for himself at the youth level in Belgium thanks to his natural attacking instincts. Keen to get forward and eager to cross, pass, or shoot with both feet, the full-back has become a regular at U21 level for Leuven, and trains with the first team on a regular basis. It is believe that a chance in the first-team could arrive this season.
Milan Taildeman: a rising star at the full-back position
As the captain of the U21 side, too, Taildeman has been involved in the Leuven senior squad twice – against Zulte Waregem and against KRC Genk. At a club with a history of talent development, the immediate future looks very exciting indeed for a hot prospect.
Having made a strong impression at the OH Leuven academy as a youngster, arriving from a small local club, Taildeman has so far spent his entire career at the Belgian club. A youth international – having played for the Belgian national side at U15 and U17 level – Taildeman now competes in the ‘BEGold’ system, which is a Belgian football program designed for players waiting for their breakthrough.
With his attacking instincts and a fine level of leadership shown at a young age, Taildeman could one day be a solution to the full-back question for the national side. While talent has been abundant in most other positions, the Red Devils have not produced full-backs at the same level of talent as in other positions.
Attack-minded youngsters forged in the highly competitive and detailed Belgian youth system, though, could be the solution to this. While waiting for a first-team debut at a club with a history of creating international, though, the future can look very bright indeed.
Expect to see Taildeman – and others at Leuven – break through into the first-team in the future. As a club with a clear focus on academy development, Taildeman looks the ideal next player to step-up into the first team picture.