DAVID PYE: Dyke's task force could save time by following the Belgium formula
11:00pm Friday 11th October 2013 in Sport
I HAD one of those hazy waking-up moments this week, when you forget what day and time it is until you come round.
I thought I had a DeLorean parked outside my flat and was back in the 1980s.
Even Belgium were listed as short odds for a top-four finish at the next World Cup in this flashback in time. Conclusive proof I was daydreaming in the era of leg warmers and shoulder pads.
Coming back to the future, those international odds are the reality in 2013 – and looking at the current crop of talent in that Belgian squad I would strongly fancy them to be in the semi-finals in Brazil next summer.
As a man with a palate favouring lager over real ale, I always considered Stella Artois as the best Belgian export; the fairer sex might argue chocolate or, sticking with the 1980s theme, Jean-Claude van Damme.
But the modern-day muscles coming from Brussels belong to the country’s talented footballers.
This is a golden age for head coach of the national side, Marc Wilmots, and that is without getting involved in the argument over new Old Trafford sensation Adnan Januzaj and his availability for Belgium.
Just on players based in the Premier League, you can assemble a starting XI including some of the current best stars in the world.
A line-up of Mignolet, Vertonghen, Kompany, Vermaelen, Chadli, Mirallas, Dembele, Fellaini, Hazard, Benteke and Lukaku would have a fair shout of winning the title.
The key to a so-called golden generation’s legacy, though, is taking it on to realise its potential and follow the example of Spain and France in recent years and not England whose team from a decade ago failed to do just that.
It is so far so good for Belgium who sit unbeaten at the top of their qualifying group going into tonight’s away clash at second-placed Croatia and are guaranteed a play-off spot at least.
If they do get through, the expectation will be high across the English Channel of going one better than the likes of Enzo Scifo and Eric Gerets in 1986 and making the final in Rio.
Who knows? By then, they may have a certain Manchester United teenager in their ranks – unless Roy Hodgson can sneak in and prise him away.
Maybe Greg Dyke and his newly-formed FA task force should go further to solve England’s problems, though, and look at how Belgian football has developed youngsters into a team now vaunted as a set of international galacticos.
Whatever Dyke’s plan, at least we now have Danny Mills on his team to sort things out!