Youri Tielemans

Tielemans & Praet: Leicester City's Belgian Connection

Reunited after three years apart at club level, former Anderlecht and current Belgium team-mates Youri Tielemans and Dennis Praet are excited by the prospect of linking up in Leicester City's colours.
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Three years Tielemans' senior, Leuven-born Praet, was already established among Anderlecht's senior squad when Youri began to make a name for himself at youth level in Brussels.

Tielemans in fact made his UEFA Champions League debut at the age of 16, and Praet remembers the excitement felt by everyone at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium concerning his talent.

"I think I was a little bit earlier in the first team than him, but I remember him coming in the first team," Praet remembered. "He was a big name, Tielemans.

"They always say to me in the youth team he did really really well. So I was always like, yeah, I want to see him play. And you can see now he has a nice way of playing.

"From the first minute he came on the field it was good to have him in the team and he was very young at the time."

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Easy to settle
Easy to settle

Praet believes Youri Tielemans' presence will help him settle quickly at Leicester City.

Tielemans, sat next to Praet at Belvoir Drive, replies: "Thank you for the kind words, Dennis! No, seriously when I came into the first team, Dennis was the youngest player there.

"He was the first really young player to break into that first team of Anderlecht so when he started to play every young guy looked up to him.

"Everyone knows it is so difficult to break into that team because, for me, it is the best in Belgium."

Speaking after the most recent international break, Praet admits his friend, originally from Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, played a role in him joining the Club this summer.

Dennis said: "When I heard of the interest from Leicester, I watched a game to see how they played.

"I watched the second half against Atalanta (a 2-1 win in pre-season) and I think they play a really good half. I heard afterwards the first half was not at that level!

I think we go there already with a lot of confidence and we go there (to Man Utd) to take points.

Dennis Praet

"At that moment, I was on the coach, with Sampdoria, my previous team. I saw them play and that was the way I also like to play, football on the ground, I was very positive.

"I asked him (Tielemans) about everything here and he was very, very positive about the gaffer [Brendan Rodgers] about everything, so yeah, he helped me in that way."

While both Tielemans and Praet know achieving the Club's ambitions will be a challenge this season, both are confident that, under Rodgers' management, City can impress many this term.

"Honestly, we have a lot of ambition in the team and, like I say, we have a young squad," Tielemans said. "We can all improve and we have a lot of ambition.

"We have that mentality to try to break that top six, but it will all be about consistency. I think we started the season well, but we will have to keep that during the season.

"Everybody knows it is very difficult to keep that during the whole season, especially in the Premier League. It is very demanding for all the players, so we will see.

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Dennis Praet
Dennis Praet

Praet in Foxes training ahead of Saturday's trip to Manchester.

"I think we just have to keep improving, keep working hard and keeping our standards high and we will see what will be at the end of the season."

As the Foxes prepare to tackle Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday, Praet echoed Tielemans' ambition - saying they head to the north west with a desire to win points.

"I think we go there already with a lot of confidence and we go there to take points," he continued. "It is already a big thing if we say we go to Manchester to take points.

"We are already ambitious with the team and we will see what we can do."

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