Yeah but these young boys aren't that young anymore these days. Messi (21) and Aguero (20) are practically the 2 best players in la liga, in England there are Cristiano Ronaldo (23), Fabregas (21) and Torres (24) among the best... Ronaldinho at 28 is past it and I bet you that of these players I just named, none will be as good at 28 as they are now.
Guys like Dembele, Fellaini, Vermaelen, Kompany... should be as fully grown as they'll ever be. Especially Dembele has no excuse for staying at AZ if he wants to get the best out of his career.
Instead of overprotecting them like little babies, we should just put all these players in the 1st team and only add those that add real value, like Mudingayi and Simons. No more Goor, Sonck or Mpenza anymore.
What on earth are you talking about?
I haven't said a thing about protecting, let alone overprotecting the players. If anything, that attitude was perhaps just one of the reasons why the previous generation never spawned the leaders these young boys can use to help them advance NT-wise now.
Actually, I'm growing more and more convinced that we have no real leaders (or at least not enough) on NT level because we have no Belgians taking charge/responsibility on club level as well (yet), in spite of us (our press, FA, fans,...) talking about "all the players at the big teams" like Bayern, PSV, Lille, Zenith and so on and so on. If a player's just "tagging along", playing his matches and getting his minutes, he can not just turn the button and say "oh right, now I have to lead" when he steps on the NT-train every two or three months; it's not that simple. Maybe a number of these young guys can take that step to become a leader or at least a responsible player on club level and then pull that line through in the first team of Belgium for the future.
I have no idea how soon they can make those steps (that's for other people to judge), but it would be na´ve imo to think that these things happen overnight instead of taking 1 or 2 or maybe 3 years. In their own club environment and in their own rythm. Each player develops differently, so comparing them to whoever makes little sense as you can go pretty much any which way with those comparisons.
So yes, you can drop the youngsters in the A-squad and yes, you can form a squad around them and yes, you can be critical of them but at least fairly, with all things in the right perspective. We also have to realise that they need to become better players with their club and some of them leaders before becoming really important for Belgium. Without arguing about names (pro or against Janneke and Jefke), it's realistic imo to say the red devils won't set the world on fire for the next few years, let alone qualify for a major tournament. If we do make the WC in 2010 (or maybe even the EC in 2012), all the better. If we don't, there's not necessarily a man overboard. Because the new generation of players needs to learn the next important things elsewhere than in the NT, except maybe for who they can genuinely learn from and who not and how to deal with media incidents (though they seem to do fine in that department so far