The Belgium FA have appointed Roberto Martinez as their new head coach following Marc Wilmots’ departure after a disappointing Euro 2016 campaign. Wilmots failed to get the best out of the fantastic Belgium players, and despite their immense talent, they left France empty-handed.
Martinez is the first Spaniard to lead the Belgian national team and will reunite with the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas whom he coached at Everton.
The 43-year-old manager who was sacked at Goodison Park in May will no doubt relish the opportunity of coaching one of the most exciting prospects in Europe, but will be aware that the potential present in the team means nothing without a winning mentality and a great team chemistry.
Martinez signed a two-year contract with the Red Devils, and his objective is to take them to the World Cup 2018 in Russia. He went through a rough patch at Everton before he was axed from the job, but he’s ready for a fresh start, and the fact that he’s already familiar with a few of the players will help his resolve.
Martinez’ preferred formation is a 4-2-3-1 as he likes to play with a moderate tempo, but at same time advocates attacking and attractive football whilst also attempting to maintain defensive responsibility – not seen to be one of his strong points. It’s also questionable how much of an influence he’ll have on Belgian players as a foreign coach.
The former Swansea and Wigan manager knows that the nation expects a lot from his players, especially following the torrid way the Belgian Red Devils crashed out of Euro 2016.
Martinez’s lack of experience at the international stage could be deemed detrimental to Belgium while on the other hand it could also prove to be Belgium’s saving grace on the international scene as inexperience doesn’t necessarily mean incompetence; hence the large risk that this appointment is seen to have.
The serious doubts regarding his appointment are natural following Everton’s 2015/16 campaign, though judging the Spaniard by his last season in the Premier League seems harsh. It remains to be seen whether Martinez will turn out to be the right person for the Belgium job, and there is always the chance that by getting the chance to work with players of this calibre for the first time, he might prove to be Die Roten’s saving grace.
Martinez is set to have his first game in charge of Belgium against his native country Spain in a friendly game which will take place on September 1. His competitive international managerial debut will come in a World Cup qualifying game against Cyprus which has been scheduled for September 6.
Belgium have been dubbed as favourites to win their World Cup qualifying group which also includes Cyprus, Bosnia, Estonia, Gibraltar and Greece.