• June 20, 2021

Exclusive: It’s ‘now or never’ for Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ to win European Championship, says former Tottenham, Manchester United, and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho

 Exclusive: It’s ‘now or never’ for Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ to win European Championship, says former Tottenham, Manchester United, and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho


Former Tottenham, Chelsea, and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho believes it’s ‘now or never’ for Belgium at Euro 2020.

Head coach Roberto Martinez got his side to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the squad have been labelled a ‘Golden Generation’ thanks to an abundance of superstars across Europe.

Belgium drew with Greece and beat Croatia ahead of Euro 2020

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Belgium drew with Greece and beat Croatia ahead of Euro 2020

Many of their top talents have excelled in the Premier League 18 of the 26-man squad either playing in England at some point in their career.

But it’s also an ageing group now and the second oldest at the tournament behind only Sweden, with an average age of 29.1.

They are clearly a talented side with the ability to be a force, particularly in Group B, where their rivals are Russia, Finland, and Denmark.

But Mourinho, who has managed the likes of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld, and Kevin De Bruyne during his tenures with Chelsea, Manchester United, and Tottenham, believes this could be their final chance to win a tournament before a rebuild.

This will be the second tournament in charge of Belgium for Spanish boss Martinez

AFP

This will be the second tournament in charge of Belgium for Spanish boss Martinez

“It’s a team full of good players,” he told talkSPORT.

“Of course, if you look at [Eden] Hazard of one year ago, before this incredible run of injuries, he would be one of the best players in Europe.

“In this moment I would say Kevin De Bruyne emerged as a fantastic player and [Youri] Tielemans I believe his evolution has been really, really good since he came to the Premier League.

“But, as a team they work together for many years. They are a generation with a lot of experience. They reached the semi-finals of the World Cup. That means a lot.

“I think it’s now or never for them because lots of the players are reaching this perfect age to make it. But I think it’s now or never, they can do it.”

De Bruyne is a world class talent but he is a doubt to start the the first game of the tournament due to his facial injury

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De Bruyne is a world class talent but he is a doubt to start the the first game of the tournament due to his facial injury


And Mourinho believes in their hunt for glory, their tactical set-up, which seems them sometimes play with wingers at wing-back, could be key.

He added: “Individually, of course, they have very good players and collectively they always play with this five at the back but with the full-backs being, for the majority of the time, wingers.

“They have these players like the young Hazard [Thorgan], or [Yannick] Carrasco, or [Thomas] Meunier. They become more like wingers than full-backs.

“[They have] lots of creation, of course Romelu Lukaku is a goalscorer who has had an incredible evolution in his two years of Italian football.

“Belgium is powerful.”

Striker Lukaku has been sensational for Inter Milan this season and will be key for his nation

AFP

Striker Lukaku has been sensational for Inter Milan this season and will be key for his nation

talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 will have live commentary of EVERY game of Euro 2020. You won’t miss a thing as we bring you round the clock coverage, reaction and analysis from June 11-July 11. Listen online HERE.

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