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Belgium boss comments on Eden Hazard's situation

Tue 08 June 2021 | 8:52

Roberto Martinez says he will be patience with Hazard’s fitness progress.

Eden Hazard

has tried hard to deliver the expectations at

Real Madrid

since joining from

Chelsea

two years ago, but consecutive injuries have prevented him to do so.

The 30-year-old star came in as a substitute in Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Croatia, to make his first appearance for Belgium after about 19 months.

Belgium manager

Roberto Martinez

says coming in as a substitute was a psychological step for Hazard and the minutes does not matter in this scenario.

"I think the target for Eden was to be on the pitch and I think that was almost a psychological step. You need to be on the pitch, in a match scenario and it doesn't matter the minutes,”

Martinez said.

"It wasn't the case Eden needs to play bigger chunks of time on the pitch but I think the next step now will be in training to try to get the match intensity, but I was very pleased in the way that Eden came on, affected the pace of the because it's very hard to come on as a substitute to adapt to the pace of the game.

"It was a needed step, it wasn't about the minutes, it was about being able to do make that step without risk, in a safe manner and that is what we did."

The Spaniard added:

"I think it will be difficult to tell when he will be ready. It will depend on a lot of things; how the game goes, what is the scoreline, how demanding the game can be in and out of possession.

"What is important is now he is medically fit and now we have a good build-up of five days before the Russia game and then it will be about quality.

"It's not going to be about playing minutes, it's going to be about being able to see Eden Hazard with a big smile on his face and when he's on the pitch he can make the difference.

"I'm not too concerned about the minutes and I think it's a different approach, it's a tournament where we need to think we have five substitutes. It's not a lot about the starting XI, it's about every player when he's on the pitch can make a contribution.

"Five substitutes means almost 50 per cent of the outfield players can almost share the minutes, so I think that approach is going to be very important in this tournament."

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