Antwerp sensation Arthur Vermeeren is not called up to the Red Devils, but to… the U19


Arthur Vermeeren (18) will not be part of Domenico Tedesco’s first selection on Friday. The Antwerp sensation, who seemed to be eligible for the Red Devils, has been called up for the… U19.

Pieter-Jan Calcoen

“Arthur wouldn’t look out of place with the Red Devils,” said Antwerp coach Mark van Bommel one month ago. The Dutchman was certainly not the only one who was of that opinion, because Vermeeren impresses week after week in the midfield of the Great Old – which has now been fifteen league games. A first acquaintance with the Red Devils – Domenico Tedesco already called Vermeeren “an interesting profile” – therefore did not seem unrealistic.

But now it is clear that Vermeeren will have to exercise a little patience. The selection of Thierry Siquet’s U19 has been released on the website of the football association, including… Vermeeren. Inquiries with the RBFA tell us that the list is up-to-date with a view to the upcoming international match period. In other words: Vermeeren will have to report to the U19 after the match against Charleroi with Antwerp.

On Friday, Domenico Tedesco will publicly announce which players he will call up for the international matches against Sweden and Germany. Vermeeren will not be there – otherwise Siquet would have been told that he should not have selected the player. In league circles there is still a little reservation to note, simply because cancellations are never excluded and Vermeeren could then move on, but that is not considered likely.


In principle, Vermeeren could also play for the national U21s. Jacky Mathijssen’s group is going on an internship with a view to the European Championships next summer, but no duels with commitment are planned there. It is an important international period for the U19. They participate in the elite round, where tickets for the European Championship can be enforced. That mini-tournament takes place in Bremen, the opponents are Slovenia, Germany and Italy.

There is at least one major objection to Vermeeren at the U19. ‘Freshness’ is the most frequently heard argument. The Antwerp youngster has been reeling off matches at a killer pace in recent weeks. To add three more posters and a move now seems like a big burden. With the A-team, on the other hand, he might have been allowed to make a handful of minutes at the most.

Bakayoko and De Cuyper

Vermeeren’s absence from the Red Devils does not necessarily mean that Tedesco will stick to the ‘old guard’. It has already leaked that youngsters Johan Bakayoko (PVS) and Maxim De Cuyper (Westerlo) are in the large pre-selection. Whether Tedesco – who can no longer count on Eden Hazard, Alderweireld and Mignolet – will effectively take those two to Sweden and Germany will only become apparent on Friday. Yesterday he sat down with his staff to make decisions.

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