Former Everton manager Roberto Martinez has been appointed as the new coach of the Belgian national team following the sacking of Marc Wilmots who left his role in the wake of the nations EURO 2016 exit at the hands of Wales. The Belgian FA made the announcement on Twitter this evening.
The 43 year-old Spaniard was sacked by Everton in May following a poor season that saw the Toffees finish in 11th place. Martinez guided them to the semi-finals of both the FA Cup and League Cup but Manchester United and City respectively knocked the Merseysiders out. Despite these cup runs Martinez had fallen out of favour with the fans and the club handed him his marching orders before the final game of the season.
Martinez, who has also managed Swansea and Wigan, coached a number of Belgian players during his time at Everton. Striker Romelu Lukaku and winger Kevin Mirallas enjoyed plenty of playing time under Martinez. He succeeds Marc Wilmots who resigned following Belgium’s elimination from EURO 2016. Wales defeated the Red Devils 3-1 in the quarter-final stage and Wilmots departure was expected after it emerged he had lost the faith of key players such as goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois who reportedly question Wilmots’ tactics following the sides opening defeat to Italy.
Martinez’s first task will be to guide Belgium through qualification for the 2018 World Cup. The nation is currently ranked second in the FIFA World Rankings but many fans feel the ‘golden generation’ of players such as Eden Hazard,Kevin De Bruyne and Toby Alderweireld have failed to reach their potential for the national team.