When Kevin Mirallas got his move to Antwerp in the summer from Everton, it was meant to be a chance for him to get back into the swing of things ahead of a potential spot in Roberto Martínez’s squad for the 2020 Euros.
However, his time in Belgium has been anything but a success so far, as the 32-year-old hasn’t quite managed to lock down a starting spot, starting just 11 games from a possible 20.
Questions are now being asked of the forward, with Het Nieuwsblad asking if the ‘real Mirallas’, the one from Goodison Park, will finally stand up?
He’s only played 32 minutes from the last two league games, and there’s a belief the player will once again be on the bench as Antwerp face KRC Genk on Thursday evening.
This isn’t how it was meant to go, and the former Everton man is clearly not happy about it.
Speaking to the Belgian newspaper, his father, José, said: “Of course he is sad. Kevin wants to pass on his experience, but he doesn’t get the chance. Just before the winter break, he played another good game against Anderlecht and kept Chadli under control on the right, but in the meantime he’s back on the bench. He doesn’t understand it either.”
Het Nieuwsblad explain one of the reasons is the competition in the positions where he can play, with Refaelov deemed better than him behind the striker, and Lamkel Zé is preferred down the left-hand side.
They add ‘then there is the fact that Mirallas isn’t super sharp. They aren’t surprised by that, because they feel that he doesn’t always seem motivated’.
With this lack of opportunities and a contract expiring at the end of the season (he only signed for one year), there remains the question of what happens from June onwards.
His father said: “It’s not as if Kevin feels like sh**. He remains a happy boy and off the field he enjoys himself with his teammates, but even though I cannot speak for him, if the situation doesn’t change quickly, I don’t see him staying.”
As for the Belgian national team, Het Nieuwsblad make it clear no one is talking about Mirallas for it, and the player himself has ‘no illusions’ about the fact he won’t be making the squad for the Euros.