Emerging Anderlecht star Dennis Praet says he is determined to remain grounded after bursting on to the scene in 2012.
The 18-year-old has delivered some eye-catching displays in the Belgian First Division and in the Champions League, with the likes of Manchester United rumoured to have sent scouts to monitor his progress.
Praet has insisted he will not allow himself to get carried away with the hype around his future, and feels the Belgian champions are the perfect club to help him continue his development.
“I’m very down to earth and I’m lucky enough to have good people around me in my family and at the club,” he told the FIFA website.
“If I’d opted for money, I would have gone elsewhere.
“I’m staying who I am and, away from football, I spend my time with my childhood friends. They’re not at all involved in football, and that’s what I need.
“It’s not easy to break through at Anderlecht, but I’ve been fortunate to have the perfect coach. He believes in the younger players and has given me a lot of confidence.
“I can feel the faith the staff have in me from day to day, and obviously that helps.”
Praet, the latest in a long line of prodigious talents to emerge from Belgium in recent years, has already been compared to Barcelona star Andres Iniesta, and Anderlecht team-mate Tom de Sutter has said he can see the similarities.
“Dennis plays like Iniesta,” De Sutter said.
“He’s got good technique, he’s solid, holds onto the ball well, keeps things simple and doesn’t panic. His vision of the game is incredible.”
Praet jokingly added that the likes of Iniesta and Lionel Messi are important role models when he considers his own small physique.
“I know I have to get more muscle, but above all it’s important that I retain my qualities, which are speed and acceleration,” he said.
“Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta aren’t exactly big either.”
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