TALLINN : Belgium coach Roberto Martinez and striker Christian Benteke have held a ‘clear the air’ meeting after the Crystal Palace striker complained of a lack of game time with the national team.
The 30-year-old Benteke said he had a frustrating European Championship, playing just six minutes in a group game against Finland, and wanted Martinez to explain what more he needed to do to compete more.
"I want to know what Martinez still wants from me," he said in an interview with the Voetbal Magazine this week after being left on the bench 28 times in 39 call-ups since Martinez took over as coach five years ago.
“If you are called up to the national team, I assume the intent is to represent your country. That is my starting point and based on that I only want to know what else he wants from me. I just want a constructive conversation between a national coach and his player.
“During the Euros I didn't want to talk about my personal interests, but now I think it's healthier for everyone to sit down at the table and talk,” he added.
Martinez said the pair had discussed Benteke's frustration on the eve of Belgium’s World Cup qualifier in Estonia on Thursday.
“We sat together and exchanged ideas,” said the coach.
“I want players to be dissatisfied when they don't play. The opposite would not be healthy. I want them to be desperate to play, to prove something. Christian has always shown that. Because of that attitude, he still has a role to play in the national team.”
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Christian Radnedge)