Martinez Agrees – Hazard Is Not A ‘False Nine’

Roberto Martinez has rejected the idea of following Antonio Conte’s lead and deploying Eden Hazard as a ‘false nine’.

Hazard has been asked to operate through the centre by Chelsea at times this season with Alvaro Morata out of form and Michy Batshuayi out of favour.

It is not a role he enjoys, however, and Martinez promised his star man:

‘Eden is not a false nine for me.

‘Chelsea can work with guys like Pedro around him but with us we have Romelu Lukaku, Michy Batshuayi, even Dries Mertens who can play there. I’m not going to put Hazard there.

‘The shape of Lukaku is very good. He was impressive against Liverpool. He shows maturity, and I was pleased to see him perform at such a high level.’

Belgium, Group G rivals for England at the World Cup, have enough centre-forwards to leave Christian Benteke out of the squad for next week’s friendly against Saudi Arabia.

‘Benteke is still part of our group,’ said Martinez.

‘I just did not want to call too many attackers. Christian has to try to get to his best level at his club. He has a relegation fight that he needs to focus on.’