Belgium’s Golden Generation is slowly losing their pace and the quality they possess as the years pass by. But there are a few players that give them hope for this decade. One of those talented youngsters is Jeremy Doku, the pacy winger who plays for the French club Rennes.
The Belgian winger possesses enormous potential, and the managers and football pundits have praised his explosiveness. He is known for his explosive pace and his ability to beat a man in space before either crossing into the box or cutting inside.
The Belgian international initially started his career in his home city of Antwerp and made the move to Anderlecht at the age of 10. Doku had an immediate impact in Brussels, debuting for the first team just six years later. In many ways, the young winger is the next budding star to come out of Anderlecht’s production line, following the steps of Romelu Lukaku, Vincent Kompany, and Youri Tielemans, among others.
In EURO 2020, he was one of the teenagers who the top European clubs keenly watched. Also, one of the youngster players who participated in the European Championship.
He already has ten caps to his name for Belgium, debuting in September 2020 against Denmark. A week later, he netted a superb curling effort in a 5-1 win over Iceland to mark his first international goal. The second goal was against Belarus last year in a world cup qualification match.
While he was in Belgium with Anderlecht, his excellent form quickly caught the eye of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who invited Doku to Melwood. The German tactician was keen on bringing the winger to Anfield, but the move never materialized. Anderlecht reportedly convinced the young winger, who was 16 at the time, that it was too early to take the leap to a big club.
“Klopp explained how he saw a potential successor to Sadio Mane in Jeremy,” said David Doku, his father. “Steven Gerrard showed us videos with tactical analysis. At the training complex Simon Mignolet, Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum came to talk to us.”
Doku’s decision to remain in Belgium proved to be the right one, as the winger kicked into another gear the following season. The 18-year-old established himself as a starter under Kompany and took the Jupiler Pro League by storm, making 21 appearances.
Rennes signed him for a club-record fee of 26 million euros. But he was not able to return what was expected from him. This might be because of the pressure that everyone keeps on him.
“I don’t like making comparisons, but he reminds me of the case of Sadio Mane at Metz, where he scored just two goals,” former Rennes boss Julien Stephan said in February. “He’s only 18, and we want him to be ultra-decisive now. If he was, he wouldn’t be at Rennes.
“He’s a worker and someone seeking to make himself better. He has room for improvement and we all see him working to improve.”