Vandenmpet bids farewell to Witsel: “Football has evolved, but he remains the same player.” Red Devils

Our analyst Peter Vandenemppt takes a look at Axel Witsel’s international career and assesses his retirement as a Red Devil. A two-sided story. How the “national team” lost the battle with the development of football. He added: “His farewell may go unnoticed, but it would be wrong to underestimate his merits.”

Is Axel Witsel’s farewell surprising? Yes and no.

On the one hand, this is not consistent with what his father recently announced. A few weeks ago, he said that Witsel was still available for the national team, expressed his disappointment that he was no longer available, and expressed his hope for a place in the next squad.

On the other hand, it is not surprising that he announced his retirement. It is a decision based on Witsel’s progressive vision. It was very clear that Tedesco had not called him. When you see how his successors replaced him there, you see that the development has already begun.

Then I think Witsel also realized somewhere that there wouldn’t be a next time. After two successful international appearances, Tedesco will not simply return to something that has not happened for a year and a half.

Witsel kept the honor for himself, so as not to feel uncalled for again.

Axel Witsel celebrates with the Devils with his distinctive move.

safety first

I have the utmost respect and admiration for Witsel’s career. But even in his best years, people wondered why he was always on the team.

“He always gives easy balls. He is invisible. He does not stand in front of goal enough. He has very few goal attempts,” he said.

However, he is the one who has the utmost respect from all his coaches. In the best Belgian match of 2018, he was an indispensable link to balance within the team.

This has to do with his extreme intelligence on the game, his sense of position, and he never loses the ball. He was really safe for the national team at one point. He always remained icy calm under pressure.

He was really safe for the national team at one point.

Peter Vandenemppt

Why wasn’t he so popular after all? No, he wasn’t an amazing footballer, his style of football sometimes seemed a bit shabby and he wasn’t showing off. But he was well suited to the role that was expected of No. 6 at the time.

These requirements have witnessed significant development in recent years and Witsel is no longer able to take this step. He’s too old for that.

If you look at the footballers who are currently playing there – like Onana and Mangala – we will see more energy, dynamism and frankness in the game. Witsel simply wasn’t that type of player.

Somehow it makes sense that he no longer fits into Tedesco’s plans. Who also saw the recent World Cup as too much for the midfielder. It has passed its peak at the highest level.

Witsel played his 130th and final match against Croatia.

I say this with all due respect, but the impact of Witsel’s farewell to the Red Devils is zero.

It is no longer a big loss. He will no longer be included in the Devils’ selection. For example, Toby wanted Alderweireld, but not Witsel. This is telling.

Alderweireld will still have his value at the back among the young boys, but in Witsel’s position, that is no longer necessary for the Red Devils.

In this way, his farewell could go unnoticed, but it would be extremely wrong to underestimate Witsel’s merits with the national team.

He was a very important pawn in the Red Devils’ golden years, but that position is becoming increasingly difficult to defend. Football has evolved, but Witsel remains the same player.

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Amber Webster

 "Freelance zombie fanatic. Devoted web advocate. Analyst. Writer. Coffee fanatic. Travelaholic. Proud food aficionado."

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