Connect with us


Is former Middlesbrough and Derby County midfielder one of the more underappreciated players in the Belgian Pro League?



When naming top players in the Belgian Pro League this season, the likes of Kevin Denkey, Mohamed Amoura, Anders Dreyer and Cameron Puertas will naturally make the list. Yet Gent’s 29-year-old midfielder Julien De Sart is arguably another name that deserves a mention. Despite the sides struggles in recent weeks, De Sart continues to play at a high level. Perhaps its because his role in the side does not lead to as many highlight plays, especially goals or assists, but when he is absent it shows.

De Sart began his career with Standard Liege, making 75 appearances before moving to England in the winter window of 2016. He joined Middlesbrough, but struggled to make an impact and only managed three appearances before leaving in 2018. In that time he spent the second half of the 2016/2017 season on loan at Derby Country, scoring once in 11 appearances. He then returned to Belgium for the 2017/2018 season to play for Zulte Waregem. He made a permanent return to Belgium in the summer of 2018 to join Zulte’s rivals Kortrijk. In the summer of 2021, Gent snapped him up on a free transfer.

Since then, despite a handful of injuries, he has played 131 games and been a crucial part of the side. He is willing to play the long direct ball and leads the league in terms of accuracy with 62.8%. He has created 25 chances for the side and has an xA of 2.15, yet has no assists. He is one of the highest ranked among touches per 90, as well as defensive actions. He has won 62.9% of his duels, with a 67.4% win rate when it comes to aerial duels. He has recovered the ball 231 times this season.

Last March the 29-year-old signed a new deal with the club that will run until 2026. Given his age, it is unlikely that he will get another chance of a move abroad, yet that does not mean he has not got a lot to give. Gent are set for a transition this summer, with plenty of money to be spent on improving the squad. Either way, De Sart will likely remain a key cog in the machine for the 2024/2025 season.

Continue Reading