It ain’t easy to break into Martinez’s World Cup squad

By | March 31, 2022

Adnan Januzaj – hoping for his third World Cup, here with Manchester United.

With the World Cup just eight months away, Roberto Martinez will have been watching the recent friendly games with interest. However, he’s a coach that believes in continuity, and he probably has the names of 19 of his 23-man squad nailed down.

Leander Dendoncker and Hans Vanaken were always likely to be in the 23 and they didn’t disappoint. If you add the names of Thomas Foket and either Arthur Theate or Siebe Van Der Heyden, who both showed up well in the friendlies, then that leaves just a couple of places to be up for grabs – one striker and one midfielder.

Among those competing for those spots are Christian Benteke and Michy Batshuayi. If Martinez takes both, then there’s only one spot left – with candidates such as Adnan Januzaj, Yari Verschaeren, Leandro Trossard, Charles De Ketelaere, Jeremy Doku and Ales Saelemaekers.

Based on the match with Burkina Faso, Trossard has the edge but not far behind is Januzaj, who looked a class act at Park Astrid on Tuesday night. A lot depends on form in the next few months. However, it would be remarkable if Januzaj broke through for his third World Cup. In addition, Doku can’t be ignored if he stays fit.

The other factor is game time. Jason Denayer will be benched by Lyon for the rest of the season due to contract disputes, while both Axel Witsel and Thorgan Hazard have not been playing regularly for Borussia Dortmund. Add to that Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Benteke and Batshuayi, and there might be several players looking for summer moves, even if they are already firmly in Martinez’s thoughts for Qatar.

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