Ex-national coach Georges Leekens is looking forward to “new era” at the Red Devils: “If Tedesco needs some advice …”


With a 0-3 victory in Sweden on Friday evening, the Red Devils take a first important step in the race to qualify for next year’s European Championship in Germany. According to former national coach Georges Leekens (73), the Belgians can already sleep soundly. He also pleads for a more positive atmosphere around the national team.

Vincent Van GenechtenBron: BELGIAN

“It’s only a game but a win like that is nice and some guys like Lukebakio have shown themselves. There is a spine. This is certainly a boost. The further qualifying competitions should not normally be a problem”, says Leekens on Monday in the margins of the presentation of the Trofee Raymond Goethals in Grimbergen, where he was part of the jury that awarded the prize to Karel Geraerts (Union). “We have a good team and if the top players are in shape, I think we will play. Lukaku is very important and we missed it, De Bruyne is now the chef, there is Courtois and Vertonghen is playing at his old level again in the back.”

With Domenico Tedesco, the Devils have a new sporty boss. “I don’t know him, but I will run into him sometimes and if he needs some advice, I am always willing to give it,” continues Leekens. “He’s young and seems like someone who knows what it’s like to work hard. It is important that there is a good click with Frank (Vercauteren), the new technical director, and also with Jacky Mathijssen (the U21 coach) so that the youth is also looked at. There is a lot of talent, which for me is proof that a good job has been done.”

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On Tuesday evening, the Red Devils will play their second game in the Tedesco era. In Cologne they face superpower Germany.

“The Germans are not at their strongest, many guys were missing, but it will be a more difficult test than against Sweden,” predicts Leekens. “But we shouldn’t overestimate the importance of that match either. It is especially important that boys feel at home, feel good about themselves and believe in themselves. And we also need to have more confidence in the national team. Results are important in this respect, but we must also dare to be more positive. Before the World Cup in Qatar, everyone was so negative, no good atmosphere had been created. The previous national coach Roberto Martinez does not deserve all that criticism either. He worked hard and well. Now we are entering a new era, hopefully one with a lot of positivism. We have a good team.”

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