Albert tips Bjorn Engels as a future Premier League star

Engels earned his first senior international call-up last month, and Albert is convinced the centre-back would be a Premier League success.

Former Newcastle United defender Philippe Albert says young countryman Bjorn Engels is a potential star of the future.

Engels, who is still only 21, has impressed for Club Brugge despite spending much of the current season sidelined with a knee injury.

And Albert, who became a cult hero for the Magpies after joining in 1994, is certain the youngster has what it takes to succeed in the English top flight, adding he can emulate his own success, as well as that of contemporaries such as Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen.

After regaining his place in the starting line-up in December, some assured performances saw Engels earn his first senior international call-up for Belgium's game with Portugal last month, where he was named as an unused substitute.

He has already had a taste of English football too, having been named on the bench during Club Brugge's Europa League tie with Newcastle back in 2012.

The 6ft 4 centre-back shares Albert's reputation for going forward, a trait that proved popular with fans on Tyneside, earning 10 league goals in 53 appearances for his side, who currently sit four points clear at the top of the Belgian Pro League.

But Albert believes that Engel is destined for bigger things, and told Belgian daily paper Het Laatste Nieuws: “Bjorn Engels is for me a player with great defensive and offensive qualities – an excellent mentality and professional attitude.

“That is a combination which can take him far.

“Within the next two or three years he will outgrow Club Brugge and then in four or five years I can see him following Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen.”

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