Dennis Praet

Dennis Praet: The Box-To-Box Belgian

It’s a busy Wednesday morning at Belvoir Drive, where Dennis Praet has just arrived for a day’s training in attire that wouldn’t be too out of place if an invitation to a dinner party read ‘smart-casual’.

Donning a smart grey jacket and jeans, he heads into the training ground, gets changed into his Leicester City gear and has some breakfast before spending around 15 minutes discussing his time at the Club to date.

He arrived from Sampdoria in the summer, and has now played 15 games in all competitions for City, including a substitute appearance in his latest outing.

Praet came off the bench with the scoreline at 1-0 to help the Foxes secure their ninth Premier League victory of 2019/20 over Brighton & Hove Albion, and their fifth in a row in England’s top flight.  

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Dennis Praet
Dennis Praet

The 26-year-old made his debut in the 1-1 draw at Chelsea back in August.

“It's really nice to be part of this team,” reflected Praet to “I think we're doing incredibly well at the moment, but it's early on so we will try to keep this momentum we're in and this level that we are playing at.

“In the Premier League, it can change quickly and it's a long way so it's really nice to be here with them and with a lovely group where the atmosphere is great.”

While many have been surprised with the way Leicester City have started the campaign, Praet says the belief they have showed in themselves over the past four months has carried them to where they currently sit in the Premier League rankings.

I was not a regular starter at first, but I needed to adapt to the football of the new coach, Roberto Martínez.

Dennis Praet

“I think we were really ambitious at the start of the season because we know we had a really good group of good players and so we were aiming to go as high as possible,” he continued.

“Now, we’re in second place and normally there are a lot of big teams here that mostly cover those six places, so it's difficult to get in between them.

“We should just continue this way and then believe in ourselves. That’s important and I think you can see on the pitch now that we already believing in ourselves.”

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Dennis Praet
Dennis Praet

The City No.26 has made six appearances for the Belgium national team.

Praet’s tasting success on the international stage, too.

He made his sixth appearance for Belgium earlier this month, as they ended their 2020 UEFA European Championships qualifying campaign with a perfect record of 10 wins from 10 games.

With a gap of four years in between his first and second cap, Praet is hoping that next summer’s competition will provide him with an opportunity to make his first appearance at the finals of a major tournament.

He said: “I was not a regular starter at first, but I needed to adapt to the football of the new coach, Roberto Martínez. Before, the coach had 25 players that he always selected and it was difficult to get to get in it, because he was preparing for the World Cup at that moment. 

It's a theme that suits my mind – a style of football that wants to play with dominance in the game

Dennis Praet

“But when the World Cup was finished, I started to get in the team. From that moment on, I've been involved more. Last year, I played a little bit more.

“It's a good feeling of course because it was the first time, I think, that Belgium reached 30 points, so that's really nice and it's also a very positive group with a lot of very good players all around.

“So, now we should just continue that way to the European Championships, and we'll see what happens there.”

Upon joining the Football Club in the summer, Praet knew that the brand of football that Brendan Rodgers wishes to implement would align with his own style of play.

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Dennis Praet
Dennis Praet

Praet says Leicester have 'a really good group of good players' and are 'aiming to go as high as possible'.

With a day of training ahead of him, the interview ends with him explaining his strongest attributes, and why working with Rodgers was a key factor in his decision to become a Fox.

“I'm a good passer,” Praet said. “I can keep the ball well in the team. I can be creative and from that I can also do my defensive work, like a box to box player that can take the ball at the back and then play the game.

“The style of football was very important for me. It's a theme that suits my mind – a style of football that wants to play with dominance in the game, create a lot of chances with a lot of possession and that's what Leicester is at the moment. Of course, that suits me.”

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