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Now that we are in an international break and our beloved Premier League is on hold, Sir John offers thoughts with an international flavour distinctly about a small European country.

There are some countries in the world famous for supplying top talent to the English Premier League. England, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Italy, France and Argentina are included in the pipeline. Fantasy managers use the country of origin as one factor when picking players. Now there seems to be a new nation in the mix for more than a select few stars: Belgium.

The small country with just a little more than 11 million people doesn’t have an especially impressive football history having been in 11 World Cups. The best finish was 4th place in 1986. Belgium was first in the finals of the European Championship in 1972 and second in 1980. That’s not a full trophy case.

Things may be changing because today we can put 11 players on the pitch from Belgium in the Premier League and do very well. Some of them are terrific fantasy players. Here is a Belgian XI:

Goalkeeper:
Simon Mignolet, Sunderland and Belgium national team goalkeeper

Defenders:
Vincent Kompany, Manchester City and captain of Belgium national team
Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal and member of Belgium national team
Jan Vertonghen, Tottenham and member of Belgium national team

Midfielders:
Eden Hazard, Chelsea and member of Belgium national team
Marouane Fellaini, Everton and member of Belgium national team
Moussa Dembele, Tottenham and member of Belgium national team
Florent Cuvelier, Stoke on loan to Walsall and member of Belgium national youth team

Forwards:
Kevin Mirallas, Everton and member of Belgium national team
Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea on loan to WBA and member of Belgium national team.
Christian Benteke, Aston Villa and member of Belgium national team

With these players, all except one who are on Belgium’s national team, and others in leagues around the world, it is no wonder that they recently beat Netherlands and will be a force to reckon with in the World Cup 2014 qualifications.

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