Tielemans broke through at Anderlecht whilst Senegalese international Kouyate played with the Jupiler Pro League club, and it was the now-West Ham star who played a key role in his development.
Arriving at Anderlecht as a defender, Kouyate was pushed further forward into an enforcer-type midfield role, and this switch allowed Tielemans, 17, to move further forward himself and show off his attacking talents.
It is these talents that have seen the youngster linked with a host of Europe’s top clubs, including the likes of Premier League sides. The Independent has linked Tielemans with Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City, whilst a report in AS has claimed that Atletico Madrid have agreed a pre-contract agreement with him for a summer transfer.
The youngster’s performances have dropped off this season, and many have put it down to the increased interest in him with a summer departure from Anderlecht looking likely. However, the loss of Kouyate has forced Tielemans to play in a deeper role, affecting his abilities, and the West Ham man has told HLN that people should lay off the criticism of the young superstar.
The summer signing said: “It’s [loss of form] a phase that every player has experienced. The people are too hard on him. He is still only 17-years-old and already has dozens of appearances at the highest level.
“Here at West Ham I hear people everywhere calling the name of Youri Tielemans. You have to give him some time [to recover].”