Manchester City talisman defender Vincent Kompany is raring to lead Belgium to international success – and prove his home nation has more to offer than chocolate and waffles.
The 26-year-old skipper, who also captains his country, is surrounded by Premier League talent while playing for his nation – a nation who were labelled the best team not to make Euro 2012.
Kompany plays alongside Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen in the heart of defence, while Everton’s Marouane Fellaini, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Tottenham’s Mousa Dembele help to make up a talented force to be reckoned with.
And the Belgians are looking to seal their place in an international tournament for the first time in 12 years when they begin their Brazil World Cup qualification campaign in Wales on Friday.
“I’m proud of all of them,” said Kompany. “There are almost too many to name now, there are so many Belgian guys now in the Premier League.
“When I signed four years ago I was the first, then Fellaini came just after that and Vermaelen.
“Ever since it has been a very good competition for Belgian players.
“Not only do we showcase our talent in the Premier League but I hope at the international level as well now.
“We do sell a few beers as well – but we do have a few more things than chocolate and waffles!”
And super summer signing Axel Witsel – who cost Zenit St Petersburg £32million earlier this week – furthers the team’s European experience.
Kompany is relying on the players’ talent and ability to guide them into the World Cup as their club triumphs will add to their success.
“The reason we just about didn’t qualify for the Euros, even though we had big talents in the team, was because there is still a difference between success or performing every week at the top and supposedly being able to play at the top,” Kompany added.
“The step has been made now by many players – Jan Vertonghen, Hazard, Dembele.
“There are so many players now that play at the top of the competition and that will add so much experience.
“At international level the teams that do well are the more disciplined and the more experienced. By definition our team was very young so it was very difficult.”