ITV pundit Graeme Souness has blasted Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne for his comments about the age of his squad at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The Red Devils have been eliminated from the FIFA World Cup group stages.
It is the first time they have failed to progress to the tournament’s knockout rounds since 1998.
De Bruyne made some interesting remarks over the age of Belgium’s squad heading into the FIFA World Cup.
The Manchester City midfielder claimed that the players at Roberto Martinez’s disposal were too old to win the competition.
🎙️ Kevin De Bruyne on Belgium winning the World Cup. “No chance, we’re too old… I think our chance was 2018. We have a good team, but ageing. We lost too many key players.”
Souness was asked for his opinion on De Bruyne’s comments in the aftermath of the Red Devils’ 0-0 draw with Croatia on 1 December.
A draw that proved decisive in Belgium’s elimination from the tournament.
Souness said (via Liverpool Echo):
“Not necessary, you gain nothing. If those are your thoughts, keep them to yourself. That would not have spread a happy message in the camp, just totally unnecessary, why he’s chose to do that only he could tell you. But that is not what you want to hear from their best player.”
Martinez’s 26-man squad consisted of 15 players over the age of 29, including:
Toby Alderweireld 33, Jan Vertonghen, 35, Axel Witsel, 33, De Bruyne, 31 Thomas Meunier, 31, Romelu Lukaku, 29, Dries Mertens, 35 and Eden Hazard, 31.
Their elimination from the FIFA World Cup was a shock, and Martinez has already resigned as Belgium manager.
The Red Devils beat Canada 1-0 in their opener but then suffered a surprising 2-0 defeat to Morroco.
They finished third in Group F, a point below runners-up Croatia after the two sides’ 0-0 draw.
Their campaign was plagued by rumors of in-house bickering, with reports suggesting of an altercation between De Bruyne, Hazard and Vertonghen.
What’s next for former Belgium boss Martinez after FIFA World Cup disappointment?
Martinez left his role as Belgium’s coach just moments after the draw with Croatia.
He was appointed as the Red Devils’ manager in 2018 and oversaw 56 wins, 13 draws, and 10 defeats in 79 matches.
Martinez previously had roles with Wigan Athletic and Everton in the Premier League, but the question now turns to what is next for the Spaniard.
It may be a case of the ex-Red Devils coach refinding his feet in club management.
Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown believes Martinez can still get a top job but doubts the Premier League as an option.
He said (via talkSPORT):
“He will end up in a top job somewhere, im not sure it’s gonna be in the Premier League… I think he’s respected, I think tactically he’s been very good in the past.”
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