Thierry Henry should be the man to replace Roberto Martinez as Belgium head coach, according to striker Romelu Lukaku.
Belgium are seeking a new boss after Martinez stood down following a galling group-stage exit from the World Cup, having spent six years and four months in the role.
Former Arsenal, Barcelona and France striker Henry joined him as assistant for two stints, either side of spells in charge of Monaco and Montreal Impact.
If Belgium are seeking a clean break from the Martinez era, then Henry would not be an option, but Red Devils record goalscorer Lukaku believes there should be continuity.
Inter frontman Lukaku also says his country’s so-called ‘golden generation’ deserve another chance to deliver on the big stage, although Eden Hazard has already retired from international football.
“For me, Henry is the next coach of Belgium. There are no doubts. I say it openly: he will be the next coach,” Lukaku told Italian broadcaster Sky Sport.
“He has the respect of all the players, he has won everything. He knows how to coach, he knows what we have to do to get there.
“He knows the team, the league, the staff. For me, he is the ideal coach for our national team. Then I don’t know who they will take. But I don’t think Belgium should start from scratch.
“So far this generation hasn’t won, but we have to keep trying to win. He wants to win, and I don’t think the federation is going to get a coach who wants to change everything and start from scratch. It’s not worth it to me.”
Lukaku’s comments may prove awkward if another coach is picked to lead Belgium.
The end of something special. To two genuinely amazing people, thank you for the moments and the many incredible memories. No doubt there are still plenty of pages to be written but it has been an honour to be a part of this chapter. pic.twitter.com/gPkmiwO8g8
— Vincent Kompany (@VincentKompany) December 7, 2022
Belgium struggled to beat Canada in their opening World Cup game before suffering a 2-0 defeat against Morocco, with their exit confirmed by a goalless stalemate with Croatia.
The Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA) has said it will look to hire “a serial winner with an experience in managing top players”.
Belgium have slipped from second to fourth in the latest FIFA rankings after their dismal performance in Qatar, where they failed to reach the knockout stage for the first time since the 1998 finals in France.
The RBFA said, in advertising for Martinez’s successor, that it was looking for applications to arrive by January 10.
Belgium have been drawn alongside Austria, Sweden, Azerbaijan and Estonia in the qualification process for Euro 2024, with the first round of games coming up in March.
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