It’s handshakes and cheek-kisses all round as a troop of young men come tearing into the building having returned from their run around the lake in Parc de la Pede. The Under-21 squad jaunt past a mural of a budding Romelu Lukaku and disappear into the gym. “It was Romelu’s father who pushed us to start collaborations with schools,” says Jean Kindermans, the director of the Anderlecht academy. “At 15, Romelu was becoming famous and there was a lot of interest. His father told me: ‘Lille, Lens, Auxerre and Saint-Étienne are all interested in my son and all of those clubs can provide him with school, accommodation and football education. There’s everything.’ A few months later we started the Purple Talents Project. Now, more than 10 years later, it’s called the Purple Talent Programme – as it’s no longer a project.” “Romelu spent an hour on finishing every morning before continuing with academic studies. We don’t like to swamp children’s minds with too much information. It’s better to work intensely for short periods of time than do the same things at a slower pace for longer. Socialising with people and having various hobbies and interests is key.” Set on the… Read full this story
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