The national selector Roberto Martinez came back on his choice to preselect 28 players, but not Radja Nainggolan, in view of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. “Some decisions would have been much simpler, but would have been mistakes for everyone,” declared the Spanish coach Sunday in an interview given to Proximus.
“You don’t select names, but players of quality for the national team, all while knowing that certain decisions will be unpopular,” explained Martinez. “It would have been easier to take the twenty-three that everybody was expecting, but we wouldn’t have played as we would have wanted to at the World Cup. I must make difficult decisions, depending on performances in the national team and on the roles which this group needs. Some players deserving to go to the World Cup will not be there because the number is limited.”
“My decisions are professional, honest, responsible, and based on information taken from these last two years,” added Martinez. “Other decisions could have been much simpler but would have been mistakes for everybody.”
Many supporters criticized Martinez’s choices. “In the short term, fans’ emotion and passion are a good thing. They care about the team, which is very positive,” puts into perspective the Spanish coach. “But no fan expects me to make easy decisions. It is not up to me to judge criticism. It is democracy: everyone has an opinion, and the right to express his feeling. My job is to prepare the team as well as possible for the World Cup.”