The Belgian FA were finally able to announce former RB Leipzig, Schalke 04 and Spartak Moscow manager Domenico Tedesco as their new national head coach. Tedesco has a contract until the end of the 2024 European championships, with the chance to then reflect and extend to the World Cup in 2026. The multilingual Tedesco has been known for his passionate sideline performances and has made an instant impact wherever he has been. However, sustaining that success has been a problem for the now 37-year-old. Despite winning the DFB Pokal with RB Leipzig, a poor start to the season cost him his job.
Now it appears that the Belgian FA have turned to the Italian-German to lead the next generation of Belgian talent. Of all the realistic names linked to the job, Tedesco certainly brought the most intrigue. During his interview for the role it is understood he detailed how he would blood the emerging talent within Belgian football to transition the side from the Golden Generation to the New Generation.
The national team is in clear need of a transition to the younger generation. In Qatar, Roberto Martinez persisted with the Golden Generation and they fell well short of expectations, exiting the group stages. Tedesco must now come in and begin to build towards 2024 and 2026, when the younger crop will be in their prime.
While his lack of sustainability has been an issue, the differences at international level may well play into his strengths. He will not have contend with transfer windows or a demanding domestic schedule, instead being able to focus on short windows of time with the squad to blood his ideas.
The talent is certainly there for Belgium to compete in 2024 and 2026. Defensively, Artur Theate, Wout Faes and Zeno Debast should be trusted and given the chance to build a partnership. Further forward, utilising the final years of Kevin De Bruyne’s international career will be crucial, whilst also giving Youri Tielemans and Amadou Onana the chance to play consistently together. Jeremy Doku, despite his struggles in Ligue 1, has been a shining light for Belgium in the past two tournaments when used. Some players do just play better for their nation, and in Doku Belgium may have that player. In attack, Romelu Lukaku will still be the main man, but with his fitness issues, perhaps this is a chance for Lois Openda to stake a claim to replace Lukaku when he eventually moves on.
All eyes will certainly be on the first squad Tedesco picks, as well as the first XI he puts out on the pitch, against Sweden on the 24th of March.