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  • Jason Denayer hails the world-renowned Jean-Marc Guillou Academy

    Jason Denayer hails the world-renowned Jean-Marc Guillou Academy

    By: Mark Henderson on 30 Aug, 2014 11:18

  • NEW Bhoy Jason Denayer credits his time at the renowned JMG Academy in Lier with making him the player he is today.

    The prestigious institution is one of nine around the world founded by former French internationalist Jean-Marc Guillou.

    Designed to create an environment where young talent can best maximise their potential, with an emphasis on technique, a number of world-class talents have emerged from its ranks, including Yaya Toure, Kolo Toure, Didier Zokora and Salomon Kalou.

    The defender was only 13-years-old when he left home in Brussels to move to Belgium’s newly-opened facility.

    Naturally, his family weren’t sure about his decision but Denayer was determined to achieve his football dream and he knew there would be a greater opportunity to hone his talents at the academy. 

    While the first few weeks were tough, Denayer soon settled in to his new environment and thrived under the expert guidance of coaching staff. It was a grounding that set him on a path to Manchester, and then Paradise. The young Celt will always be grateful.

    “First of all, I played for the club in my local community, before going to Anderlecht and then I had two or three years there before going to the Academy,” he said. 

    “Anderlecht used to play four times a week as we had school to go to as well but at the Academy we would play four times a day, and I wanted to play more football so I went there.

    “It was about an hour-and-a-half from where I lived. I went there when I was 13, so I stayed there during the week and at the weekend I could go home. In the first two or three weeks, it was difficult but after that it was okay.

    “My mother and brother weren’t too happy when I went but they are okay now. I had two very good coaches who spoke to me a lot and helped every time I needed something, so they were good.

    “We still had to do school and we would go for six or seven hours every day. We started very early in the morning, at 7.30am. After eating at eight, you would have training one day and then the other day, you would have school.

    “We played a lot of football and when you are young, you just want to play. They teach a lot technique, passing the ball, along with one-touch and two-touch games.

    “It was good to come home at the weekend. Sometimes, you want to stay home with your family but you have to go and you understand that it’s for work and I enjoyed it.

    “I benefited a lot and if I didn’t go there, I don’t think I would be playing today, as I worked a lot on my technique there.

    “I went there in the first year it opened and all the friends I made in the Academy I still stay in touch with. Three of them play for clubs in Belgium.”



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