Domenico Tedesco hails “extremely important” Belgium star

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Domenico Tedesco hails “extremely important” Belgium star

Belgium head coach Domenico Tedesco explains the importance of Romelu Lukaku ahead of this summer’s European Championship.

Belgium head coach Domenico Tedesco has lavished praise on Romelu Lukaku ahead of this summer’s European Championship.

The 31-year-old, who spent the 2023-24 campaign on loan at Roma from Chelsea, is Belgium’s all-time leading goalscorer, netting 85 times for his national side.

Lukaku will lead the line for the Red Devils at Euro 2024, and Tedesco has discussed the “incredibly important role” that the striker plays “both on and off the pitch”.

“He plays an incredibly important role both on and off the pitch. On the pitch, his goals speak for themselves but there’s more to him than that,” Tedesco told UEFA’s official website.

“He knows exactly when he should pass if he has his back to goal or if he can turn round and shoot at goal himself. He is dangerous in lots of situations, not just in set pieces, crosses. In the last third of the pitch, he is unpredictable and difficult to defend against. I don’t think many defenders would choose to defend against him.

© Reuters

Lukaku has 85 goals for his country

“But his importance off the pitch is undoubted because he knows lots of players, particularly young players, whom he can look after and become a sort of mentor to.

“He concerns himself with many things, he looks after many things in the dressing room, which makes him extremely important.”

Tedesco also discussed the favourites for the Euro 2024 trophy, claiming that France, Portugal, England, Spain and Germany will be the main challengers for the crown.

“France will play an important role, and Portugal played fantastically during qualification as well. Spain, England [and] of course Germany, in their home country, will maybe be the biggest favourites,” he added.

Belgium coach Domenico Tedesco reacts on October 13, 2023© Reuters

Belgium reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2020

Tedesco also discussed his plans for Euro 2024, as Belgium attempt to improve on their quarter-final place at the last European Championship in 2021.

“Tactically we will have to see. That isn’t set in stone, but I think what’s important is that we create a good atmosphere,” he added.

“I think everyone is hungry, but we need to make the atmosphere as positive as possible, because it’s not easy spending a lot of days and weeks together, hopefully it will be several weeks, and that is what we want to focus on above all right now.

“I think we have a lot of exciting players, a lot of young players who have taken the next step over the last few months, transferring to bigger clubs, so that is very exciting. We already have a lot of variety. We can be very flexible, depending on who we have available to us. We are already able to play several different ways.”

Belgium beat Montenegro 2-0 and Luxembourg 3-0 in their two pre-Euro 2024 friendly fixtures, and they will open their tournament against Slovakia on June 17 before also tackling Romania and Ukraine in Group E.

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