Belgium Football Federation has decided to hire former Wigan and Everton manager Roberto Martinez as the new coach of the national team. Martinez was presented at a news conference yesterday as the replacement for Marc Wilmots, who was sacked after the EURO 2016. Belgium lost 3-1 against Wales in the quarterfinals.
BELGIUM NATIONAL TEAM
After failing to fulfill high expectations at EURO 2016 star-studded Belgium national team was handed to Roberto Martinez to lead them the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Spaniard said that he is proud and honored to be given the job and after working with number of Belgian players, he was intrigued by Belgian football and that talent of the Belgium players in so-called “Golden generation” is among best in the world. Martinez will get the chance to work again with Everton attackers Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas. Martinez also added that he believes his attacking style of football will suit the Belgian team. Belgium are coming off the two straight quarterfinals appearances at major tournament after also reaching the last eight at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. However, with stars like Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, Kevin de Bruyne or Radja Nainggolan, there is pressure for Belgium to go even further on the next tournament. Martinez will start his career as Belgium head coach on September 1 in a friendly match against his homeland Spain.
Now 43-year-old Roberto Martinez began his playing career as defensive midfielder at Zaragoza, but made his name in England where he first arrived in 1995 after signing for then third division side Wigan Athletic. Martinez was a regular first team player for six years at Wigan and helped team get the promotion to the English Second Division. In 2001, he moved to Scottish club Motherwell, then to Walsall in 2002, before joining Swansea City in 2003 where he became captain and helped the team to win promotion to League One in 2005. In 2006, he moved to Chester City where he finished his playing career.
In 2007, Martinez become manager of Swansea City, leading them to promotion to Championship as League One winners. He then took over his former club Wigan Athletic in 2009, helping the minions avoid relegation from Premier League for three consecutive seasons. In his fourth season Wigan were finally relegated, but Martinez led them to the FA Cup trophy for the first time in the club’s 80-year-long history. At the end of that season, Spaniard took over at Everton, who sacked him in 2016 after three seasons of mid-table finishes.