The coach of Belgium acknowledges Nainggolan’s popularity but confirms that his choices are for the sake of the national team.
In the match against Saudi Arabia, Martinez played Radja Nainggolan in the 59th minute and the Roma midfielder received a standing ovation from the fans. The fate of the player is not yet certain. His participation in the World Cup is not sure. The Belgian coach is still skeptical of Nainggolan’s real value.
Right at the end of the match, Martinez spoke to the press: “Football and popularity go hand in hand. Radja plays with the heart, the fans were fantastic with him and with the rest of the team. However, I am not allowed to take into consideration the public reaction, it would be stupid. I have to make the right choice for the team. My selection of 23 players must be balanced. It will be a difficult decision, this is the most difficult part of my job.”
“Radja has a lot of experience, we know what he represents. What is good is that he wants to make a good impression. He is training with much more energy and intensity.”