Roberto Martinez believes that Eden Hazard remains one of the best players in the world when played in his strongest position.
It has been a difficult few years for Hazard at club level, with the Belgian playing precious few minutes at Real Madrid, even when fully fit.
For his country though, he remains a key player under Martinez, and the Spaniard says that, when used correctly, he’s still one of the best around.
“Eden Hazard is still a very important player for the national team, that’s 100% sure,” he told RTBF.
“His experience, his influence on opponents, his ability to eliminate a man, to create danger… In this profile, he is, in my opinion, one of the best in the world, still.”
Given his lack of playing time at Real Madrid, Hazard won’t be fully fit heading into the World Cup, but his manager isn’t considering bringing him off the bench rather than starting him, nor using him as a false 9 as Carlo Ancelotti has done occasionally.
“We will take stock of his situation as the World Cup approaches, and we will see what role we can give him,” he added.
“Me, I don’t see it as a false 9 or as a player who can start in a central position. I see him as someone who has to play on the left and get into the game. That’s how we see the best Eden.
“I don’t see him as a joker either, who can make the difference coming from the bench. His style of play is the opposite: he is a player who must take the rhythm of the match in hand, from the start.”