Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has said that he will be leaving out midfielder Radja Nainggolan out of his World Cup squad. Martinez admitted that the decision was down to “tactical” reasons.
The 30-year-old is one of the country’s best players, and has enjoyed an impressive four-and-a-half year period with Roma.
However when Martinez submitted his provisional 28-man group, Radja Nainggolan was absent. According to the Spaniard, the player’s style of play clashes with his own tactics.
At a press conference, Martinez said: “First and foremost, we all know Radja is a top player, there is no question about that. It is a tactical reason. In the last two years, the team has worked in an offensive way, in a very specific manner.
“In the case of Radja, we all know he has a very important role at club level and I don’t think we can give him that in the national team.
“I travelled to see him yesterday in Rome and we had a very good conversation. The decision is not an easy one, I understand how popular the player is, but we have to create the team to try to become a winning team. It is purely a tactical decision.”
Meanwhile, West Bromwich Albion midfielder Nacer Chadli and Crystal forward Christian Benteke have found a berth in the provisional squad. Now, the onus is on Martinez to reduce his squad by five players before the start of the tournament.
Goalkeepers: Koen Casteels, Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Matz Sels
Defenders: Toby Alderweireld, Dedryck Boyata, Laurent Ciman, Christian Kabasele, Vincent Kompany, Jordan Lukaku, Thomas Meunier, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen
Midfielders: Nacer Chadli, Kevin De Bruyne, Mousa Dembele, Leander Dendoncker, Marouane Fellaini, Youri Tielemans, Axel Witsel
Forwards: Michy Batshuayi, Christian Benteke, Yannick Carrasco, Eden Hazard, Thorgan Hazard, Adnan Januzaj, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens.