Belgium FA ‘delighted and proud’ to appoint former Everton manager Roberto Martinez
Spaniard Roberto Martinez was named as manager of the Belgium national team in a surprise appointment on Wednesday.
The former Everton manager, 43, will succeed Marc Wilmots, who was sacked after Belgium lost to Wales in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals.
“The KBVB decided today to appoint the Spanish coach Roberto Martinez. The Belgian FA is delighted and proud to have found, at such short notice, a coach of his calibre for our national team,” the Belgian FA said in a statement.
The decision to appoint Martinez, who had been linked with the vacant manager’s job at Premier League club Hull City, was unanimous, the association said. He will be officially presented on Thursday.
“(He) has let it be known he will be honoured to work with such a talented group of players,” the KBVB said.
However, getting the best out of Belgium’s so-called golden generation will test the Spaniard who has no previous international management experience and has spent the last 15 years playing and coaching in Britain.
Belgium went into Euro 2016 as Fifa’s second-ranked team and one of the tournament favourites.
But with a side including proven Premier League performers like Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois and Romelu Lukaku, who Martinez managed for three seasons at Everton, Wilmots failed to mould them into serious contenders and their inability to reach the semi-finals was seen as a failure.
“The technical commission have made an evaluation of the recent Euro 2016 and have declared that the intended goals have not been reached,” the KBVB said after the tournament.
“There is a common sense that the team needs a new impulse lead this group towards a top result at a major tournament.”
Martinez has been out of work since being sacked by Everton in May after a frustrating season in which they finished 11th in the Premier League amid considerable supporter unrest at Goodison Park.
Three years earlier he had been a popular appointment when he arrived after masterminding his previous club Wigan Athletic to their only FA Cup victory in 2013, one of the biggest shocks in the competition’s history. Martinez also managed Swansea City.
His first game in charge of Belgium will be a friendly against Spain in Brussels on September 1.
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Updated: August 4, 2016 04:00 AM