PLAYERS BIO
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Dries Mertens Bio

image taken from : Royal Belgian Football Association
FULL NAMEDries Mertens
BORNMay 6, 1987
HEIGHT1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)
NATIONALITYBelgian
ROLEROLE

Any powerful army requires a skilled executioner. Dries Mertens, a member of Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation,’ is a quiet performer who slickly performs the job of winger and is praised for his quickness and finishing.

He is now a winger with Napoli SSC and the Belgian national team. He has, nevertheless, put in commendable performances in the centre striker position.

Background

Mertens was born in the Belgian city of Leuven on May 6, 1987. He began his football career at Stade Leuven, a local team. KAA Gent’s youth academy provided him with the ideal environment to polish his footballing skills. He travelled to the Netherlands to play for Eendracht Aalst and AGOVV in the third level, where his excellent skills garnered the attention of bigger clubs.

Debut

Prior to his senior squad debut, Mertens had played for the Belgian Under 17 squad. It happened against Finland in September 2011, when he came on as a second-half replacement. The game concluded in a tie of 1-1.

Rise to glory

Mertens has always been a reliable performer for both his club and his nation. He has a tendency for scoring crucial goals, making him a key player of the Napoli and Belgium squads. Mertens is a frequent starter in Belgium’s starting lineup, ahead of promising wingers Yannick Carrasco and Kevin Mirallas. His outstanding performance at PSV won him a transfer to Napoli, where he has flourished ever since.

He had a memorable World Cup, scoring a last-gasp winner against Algeria in the group stages and appearing in all of Belgium’s matches until they were knocked out in the quarterfinals by Argentina.

In terms of playing style, Mertens has gone a long way. Mertens has become a dangerous striker in addition to his cunning and inventiveness. With Edin Dzeko’s tally of 28 goals edging past his, he just lost out on becoming the top scorer in the 2016/17 Serie A season.

He was at his most prolific during the 2018 World Cup qualification campaign, scoring five times.

Club Career

Following a youth career spent at lower-league Belgian teams, his first senior contract was a loan from Gent to Eendracht Aalst in the Dutch third level.

After that, he spent a long time at AGOVV, where he grew accustomed to crushing the opponent. In 2008, he was awarded the Eerste Divisie Best Player Award for his exceptional performance.

Mertens evolved into a goalscoring machine at PSV after an eventful period at Utrecht. In 62 games, he scored 37 goals in the league.

Napoli, an Italian powerhouse, came knocking. He played deeper duties in his early years, but after being elevated to the offensive, he has converted into a constant goalscoring danger. The small Belgian’s goal record of 55 goals and counting over the last two years says eloquently about his brilliance. He was a member of the 2016/17 Serie A Team of the Season.

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